Top players set to battle it out in 2018 Wuhan Open qualifying rounds

WUHAN -- This month's Wuhan Open is set to feature one of the strongest qualifying rounds of the WTA season as a host of big names bid to join the world's top 20 players in the main draw of the prestigious WTA Premier 5 event in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur, Rio 2016 Olympic Gold medallist Monica Puig, former world No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska, former world No.8 Ekaterina Makarova and former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic have all entered the 32-player qualifying draw.

Four players - including Radwanska, Stosur, Makarova and Petkovic - have previously been ranked in the world's top 10. Makarova, currently ranked 45, is the highest ranked player to enter into the qualification round in Wuhan.

Qualifying begins on September 21 and takes place over two rounds with just eight players going through to join the likes of Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Garcia, Karolina Pliskova, Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka in the 64-player main draw.

"You know how strong your main draw is when you have multiple Grand Slam champions and Olympians ready to go through qualifying to get into it," said the Wuhan Open co-tournament director Fabrice Chouquet.

"That's such a healthy sign for the tournament and it's wonderful for the fans to be able to see these amazing players in qualifying action over the first weekend of the event," he added.