One of the prominent sporting events in Central Asia the Tashkent Open turns 17 this year , the event which has thrown new stars on the world tennis stage will be played at the Olympic Tennis Complex at Tashkent from September28- October 3 .
In the last 17 years Tashkent Open has set up a record of sorts throwing up talented tennis youngsters into tennis stardom Anastasia Myskina , Dinara Safina , Maria Kirlenko Mikhila Krajicek , Sabine Lisicki , Marion Bartoli, Bojana Jovanovski and current title holder Karin Knapp have become household names on the world stage after their varied performances at the Tashkent Open .
The struggle, the challenges and the talent of these players have been applauded and appreciated by the Uzbek Tennis fans even before they became stars and household names across the globe , players have also taken back loads of love and pleasant memories of the extraordinary Uzbek Hospitality .
“"I'm happy that champions are coming back to the Tashkent Open , we have been consistently improving the event and the prize money and the players facilities and the results are showing. There are five ex winners and four finalists of previous years who are back . The return of Five champions Shahar Peer , Alla Kudryavtseva , Irina Camelia Begu , Ksenia Pervak and Bojana Jovanovski goes on to prove that players want to come back to Tashkent says Igor Shepelov the General Secretary of the Uzbek Tennis Federation .
“We are glad that Tashkent open has made a contribution to women's tennis, and impacted the careers of so many young players, Tashkent Open is one of the events that has given wings and aspirations to unknown tennis players across the world and a dream to fly high " aptly sums up tournament director S. Uthrapathy.
Says former French open Champion Iva Majoli of Serbia who travelled to Tashkent accompanying her talented ward Donna Vekic " I'm very impressed with the tournament , it is run professionally and it has been pleasure to be here . It is the first time that I have come to Uzbekistan and really happy that the tournament is gaining ground with every passing year .
Tennis is truly becoming world sport , in our times it was dominated by Europe , USA , there were not many Asian players , only a few Japanese players but I realize tennis is moving big time into Asia
Uzbekistan continues to be dominant player in Asian Tennis circles not only in terms of a strong tennis circuit , but also having produced tennis players of world repute , Uzbek star Iroda Tulyaganova won the title in 2000 and finished runners-up in 2006 , Olympian Akgul Amanmuradova was unfortunate not to pocket the title inspite of reaching the finals twice in 2005 and 2009.
The formidable challenge thrown by country's young stars Sabina Sharapova and Nigina Abduraimova in the last couple of years has also got noticed by the world of tennis . Number of talented Uzbek girls aspiring to be stars in their own right is also on the rise.
The 27 year old Karen Knapp who appeared in her second career final and first since she lost to Justine Henin at Antwerp six year ago, broke her jinx finally to claim the crown and top prize of $43000 apart from 280 WTA points,
"It's a great place not because I won , I have entered the event thrice before so it truly means I like the event. I will treasure my memory of a win here ", Said Karen after her win last year
The 16th edition which showcased participants from over 20 countries , saw Knapp down top seed and title holder Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia , Knapp not only broke Bojana's heart but kept intact the tradition of Tashkent Open of throwing up new champions and dethroning the old .
Age:17 (30 Mar 2001)
Birth Place:Saratov, Russia
Plays:Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
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