Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber will complete at the next week's WTA Premier Zhengzhou Open, taking a wild card to join strong field of players. Kerber has lost the last four matches since Wimbledon, failing to defend the title at the All England Club and deciding to seek wins and form in China against Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens, Elina Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka and others.
After that surprising loss to Lauren Davis in the second round at Wimbledon, Kerber experienced tough times on the hard court as well, bowing out in the first match in Montreal and Cincinnati to Daria Kasatkina and Anett Kontaveit, heading to the US Open with low confidence and suffering a defeat to Kristina Mladenovic who won 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors in a high-quality contest, with 12 points more on Kerber's side thanks to that second set when she had the upper hand from start to finish. That wasn't enough to carry her home, though, dropping the last three games in sets one and three to push Kristina through to the second round.
"It's always very special to be part of a brand new event and see a new city," said Kerber. "I'm really excited. I know Zhengzhou is going to be a wonderful new addition to the WTA Tour, especially coming at the start of the Asian Swing."
"We are very happy to have a Grand Slam champion in Angelique Kerber joining the field of players in Zhengzhou," said co-tournament director Rong Chang'an. "We hope she enjoys her stay here and gets the opportunity to experience some of the delights that the city has to offer."