Last week, July 11 to 17, ITF W60 category tournament for women “Liepaja Open” with a prize fund of 60,000 USD took place in the tennis courts in Liepaja Jūrmala Park with the support of Liepāja municipality, the Latvian Tennis Union and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). US tennis player Emma Navarro won the tournament.
The first tournament of a similar scale in Liepāja took place in January 2020, when the W15 category tournament took place in the LOC Tennis Hall. In the summer of 2021, a tournament of a higher level – W25 category – was held in the tennis courts of Jurmala Park. However, the W60 category tennis tournament for women that was held in July 2022 is already the next step in the hierarchy of ITF tennis tournaments.
The ITF W60 “Liepaja Open” was supposed to be held in May 22 to May 29, but the Liepaja city council demanded that the organizers of the tournament forbid the participation of tennis players from Russia and Belarus, who compete as neutral athletes. If the tournament organizers were not ready for such a step, the competition would not take place in Liepāja. On June 7, the Latvian Tennis Union reached an agreement with the International Tennis Federation that the Liepāja International Tennis tournament for women will take place this year, in July without the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus.
In total, 56 tennis players from 26 countries participated in this tournament – Latvia, USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Estonia, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Japan, China, Great Britain, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and Germany. A total of 70 matches were played during the week – 24 matches in the singles qualifying games, 31 matches in the Singles Main Draw and 15 Doubles matches.
One of the players of the tournament is in the top 100 of the WTA ranking – Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands – in 75th place. However, two of the participants are in the top 200 of the world – Yue Yuan from China in 148th place and Valentini Grammatikopoulou from Greece in 193rd place. Some of the tennis players have been able to win over the Williams sisters, as well as the Turkish tennis player Cagla Buyukakcay has also won over Maria Sharapova.
The organizer of the ITF “Liepaja Open”, Gints Siliņš, after the tournament admitted that the 2022 “Liepaja Open” was successfully held and is the highest level tournament in 2022 not only in Latvia, but also in all the Baltic countries.
The winner of the “Liepaja Open”, the American Emma Navarro, during her studies at the University of Virginia, won the Singles tournament of the NCAA, which is leading student tennis league of the USA in 2021 and won the honorary All-American title in both Singles and Doubles.
The ITF W60 international tennis tournament “Liepaja Open” was held with the support of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Latvian Tennis Union, Liepāja Municipality and Liepāja Olympic Center.