DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and World No. 12 Elise Mertens will compete in the Volvo Car Open, the WTA tournament scheduled for March 30 – April 7 on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina. Ostapenko was a 2017 Charleston finalist, however the 2019 tournament will mark the first time Mertens has competed in the Lowcountry. With the addition of Mertens and Ostapenko, the field features seven of the world’s top 25 tennis players, including Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Madison Keys.
“Both Jelena and Elise are welcome additions to our 2019 field,” said Eleanor Adams, Volvo Car Open Tournament Manager. “Jelena had a fantastic run the first time she played in Charleston, and with Elise’s sensational season, we’re really looking forward to watching their talents on display come April.”
Currently ranked World No. 22, Ostapenko kicked off her 2018 season by making the finals of the Miami Open, a WTA premier mandatory event. With her success in Miami, she achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 5. From there, the 21-year-old reached the semifinals in Wimbledon and the quarterfinals in Stuttgart, Rome and Eastbourne.
In her Volvo Car Open debut, Ostapenko reached the Charleston finals, losing to Daria Kasatkina in the first all-teen WTA final in nine years. Immediately following her success in Charleston, she captured her first Grand Slam title at the 2017 French Open. She became the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam tournament and the first unseeded women’s champion at the French Open since 1933.
“I fought my way to the Volvo Car Open finals in 2017 and didn’t get the title I wanted, so I’m eager to return and give it all I’ve got,” said Ostapenko.
Mertens began her 2018 season by becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in Hobart. She also captured two additional titles this year, both on clay, in Lugano and Rabat.
The 23-year-old Mertens reached the fourth round in the French Open and US Open and the semifinals of the Australian Open this year, her best Grand Slam finish to date. She also reached the quarterfinals in Tianjin, Cincinnati and Montreal and the semifinals in San Jose. Due to her success, the Belgian qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy tournament for the first time in her career. Mertens impressively held a 14-2 win/loss record on clay this season, losing only twice on the surface, both to World No. 1 Simona Halep.
“I had an incredible season and I am already looking forward to playing again next year and adding the Volvo Car Open to my 2019 schedule,” said Mertens. “I’ve only heard great things about the tournament and I am excited to explore Charleston and meet new fans.”
In addition to her three singles titles in 2018, Mertens also won four doubles titles and qualified for the WTA Finals in doubles. She is currently ranked World No. 11 in doubles. She is one of just two players ranked in the top 15 for singles and doubles.
Three players in the Volvo Car Open’s current field are also Grand Slam champions, including Wozniacki (Australian Open), Stephens (US Open) and Ostapenko (French Open).