– World No. 8 Marion Bartoli, world No. 10 Angelique Kerber, world No. 13 Sabine Lisicki, world No. 16 Dominika Cibulkova and former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lead the player field for the Mercury Insurance Open presented by Tri-City Medical Center, a Premier WTA tennis tournament, which is also part of the summer’s Emirates Airline US Open Series, to be held July 14-22, 2012, at La Costa Resort and Spa, Tournament Director Steve Simon announced.
Bartoli, who beat then-world No. 1 Justine Henin to reach the Wimbledon final in 2007, is fresh off another big win over current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in Miami, handing the Belarussian her first loss of 2012. The 27-year-old from France reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in January and has since been a top-eight mainstay.
"I'm extremely excited to play the Mercury Insurance Open again," said Bartoli. "I've always loved Carlsbad, and I want to see the new renovations at the resort. I heard it's even more beautiful. The fans are always great there, and I look forward to another exciting tournament this year."
Bartoli will be joined by one of the hottest players in the WTA, Angelique Kerber, who was ranked just inside the top 70 at this time last year, but a surprise run to the 2011 US Open semifinals, two titles in 2012 and a quarterfinal appearance in the French Open this past week have catapulted the German to the top 10 for the first time in her career.
Fellow German Sabine Lisicki will be returning to the Mercury Insurance Open after reaching last year’s quarterfinals. At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Lisicki became only the second wild card in the history of the event to reach the semifinals.
Cibulkova is playing exceptionally well and recently defeated Azarenka in straight sets to reach the French Open quarterfinals. The Slovakian captured her first WTA title at Moscow last year. In addition, former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2008 prior to her run to the final of the US Open, will also be a strong contender for the title and will look for strong local fan support. The Serbian is building a home in the San Diego area and is looking forward to playing her "home" event.
Joining these three WTA stars are two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, world No. 29 Nadia Petrova, who is only one of six active players to have won more than 100 Grand Slam matches, and Americans Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko and Vania King.
Over the course of the last year, McHale has defeated then-world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 4 Petra Kvitova, Bartoli and Kuznetsova, while rising inside the top 36 of the world rankings. Last year at the Mercury Insurance Open, Stephens reached the quarterfinals, while this past weekend she reached the fourth round of the French Open, the best Grand Slam finish of her young career. Also reaching the fourth round of the French Open was Lepchenko, who will climb to a career-high ranking next week. King, a Southern California native, excels on both the singles and doubles courts winning Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles in 2010.
"We are thrilled with the depth of the Mercury Insurance Open singles draw that will include top-10 players, a former Grand Slam champion, a former world No. 1 and a contingent of rising stars," said Simon. "It is only appropriate that in an Olympic year, we have a diverse international field who will make the quality of tennis outstanding for fans in attendance."
In addition, the La Costa Resort and Spa has just completed more than $40 million in upgrades throughout its world-class property, and the event has invested in enhancements to make the tournament site even more fan friendly. Seating will be upgraded on Stadium Court, and the north end of the stadium has been redesigned to feature the Terrace Club, a premier ticketed area featuring courtside seating, a shaded patio, private dining and restrooms. Four video walls will also be added to provide spectators an easier view of scores, match updates and Hawkeye replays, while two video walls will be added to the reconfigured and updated Tournament Village. Finally, practice courts will become more accessible for fans and inevitably become a favorite spot at the event.
A new amateur event, the Mercury Insurance Open Mixed Doubles Challenge, has been added to the special events calendar and will offer $5,000 in prize money. The 16-team tournament, which will take place alongside the WTA main draw (July 14-22), is open to teams consisting of tennis teaching professionals with at least one partner who teaches at a tennis club or public facility in San Diego County. In addition, the Pre-Qualifying tournament, a 16-player singles draw, will be held July 7-12 and award the winner a wild card into the Mercury Insurance Open qualifying draw (July 14-15). Both the Pre-Qualifier and Qualifying tournaments will be free admission.
For more information about the tournament and the calendar of events and to purchase tickets, visit www.mercuryinsuranceopen.com or call 760-930-7032.
About Mercury Insurance Open
The Mercury Insurance Open presented by Tri-City Medical Center, a WTA Premier event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, will be held July 14-22, 2012, at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. The event features some of the best women’s tennis players in the world in a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. The tournament is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and Tennis Channel. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit www.mercuryinsuranceopen.com
or call 760-930-7032.
About Mercury Insurance
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile and homeowners insurance through a network of independent agents and brokers in California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, New York, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Founded in 1962, Mercury specializes in providing quality insurance at affordable prices – core values that distinguish Mercury in the marketplace. For more information about Mercury Insurance, visit www.mercuryinsurance.com
About Tri-City Medical Center
Tri-City Medical Center is a Joint Commission gold seal accredited, full-service, acute care hospital with three advanced clinical institutes and physicians practicing in 60 specialties. Administered by the Tri-City Healthcare District which includes Oceanside, Vista and most of Carlsbad, Tri-City is celebrating 50 years caring for the community. For more information about Tri-City Medical Center, please visit www.tricitymed.org
About Octagon Tennis
Octagon has a rich and proud history in the sport of tennis, having managed the careers of 63 Grand Slam Champions and 11 Olympic gold medalists over three decades. In addition, Octagon owns or manages more professional tennis events than any other agency with WTA and ATP events including the Kremlin Cup, Brasil Open, the Movistar Open and the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters & Women’s Open among others. For more information on Octagon Tennis, please visit www.octagontennis.com
or via Twitter at @OctagonTennis.
About Emirates Airline US Open Series
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard-court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.
Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.