MASON, OH - AUGUST 21: Jelena Jankovic of Serbia congratulates Maria Sharapova of Russia after their match during the final of the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 21, 2011 in Mason, Ohio (credit: Matthew Stockman/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Western and Southern Open is on the horizon and this year’s Cincinnati event has the makings of a classic. As one of the most important tournaments of the US Open hardcourt series, the Western and Southern Open typically attracts a very strong field, and this season’s competition is no exception.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova will be returning this year but she can expect to have to dig deep in order to top the pack. World class opposition surrounds her, with the likes of Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Marion Bartoli and Li Na all in the mix.
The origins of this tournament date back to 1899, though the WTA’s involvement only began in 2002. This event is remarkable for the fact that it’s the United States’ oldest professional tennis tournament to still take place in its original city.