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La Costa Resort Prepares for Mercury Insurance Open July 14-22

Two-Time Grand Slam Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Americans Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko, and Vania King to participate in the event at La Costa Resort and Spa.

World No. 8 Marion Bartoli, World No. 10 Angelique Kerber, World No. 13 Sabine Lisicki, World No. 16 Dominika Cibulkova and former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lead the player field for the presented by Tri-City Medical Center.

The  has just completed more than $40 million in upgrades investing in enhancements to make the tournament site even more fan friendly. Seating will be upgraded on Stadium Court, and the north end of the stadium has been redesigned to feature the Terrace Club, a premier ticketed area featuring courtside seating, a shaded patio, private dining and restrooms. Four video walls will also be added to provide spectators an easier view of scores, match updates, and Hawkeye replays, while two video walls will be added to the reconfigured and updated Tournament Village. Finally, practice courts will become more accessible for fans, and inevitably become a favorite spot at the event.

"I'm extremely excited to play the Mercury Insurance Open again,” said Bartoli. “I've always loved Carlsbad and I want to see the new renovations at the resort. I heard it's even more beautiful. The fans are always great there and I look forward to another exciting tournament this year."

Bartoli, who beat then-world No.1 Justine Henin to reach the Wimbledon final in 2007, is fresh off another big win over current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in Miami, handing the Belarusian her first loss of 2012. The 27-year-old from France reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in January and has since been a top-eight mainstay.

Bartoli will be joined by one of the hottest players in the WTA, Angelique Kerber, who was ranked just inside the top 70 at this time last year, but a surprise run to the 2011 US Open semifinals, two titles in 2012 and a quarterfinal appearance in the French Open this past week have catapulted the German to the top 10 for the first time in her career. Fellow German Sabine Lisicki will be returning to the Mercury Insurance Open after reaching last year’s quarterfinals. At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Lisicki became only the second wiIdcard in the history of the event to reach the semifinals.

Cibulkova is playing exceptionally well and recently defeated world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to reach the French Open quarterfinals. The Slovakian captured her first WTA title at Moscow last year. In addition, former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2008 prior to her run to the final of the US Open will also be a strong contender for the title and will look for strong local fan support. The Serbian is building a home in the San Diego area and is looking forward to playing her “home” event.

Joining these three WTA stars are two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, world No. 29 Nadia Petrova, who is only one of six active players to have won more than 100 Grand Slam matches, and Americans Christina McHale, Sloane Stephens, Varvara Lepchenko and Vania King.

Over the course of the last year McHale has defeated then-World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 4 Petra Kvitova, Bartoli and Kuznetsova, while rising inside the top 36 of the world rankings. Last year at the Mercury Insurance Open, Stephens reached the quarterfinals, while this past weekend she reached the fourth round of the French Open, the best Grand Slam finish of her young career. Also reaching the fourth round of the French Open was Lepchenko, who will climb to a career-high ranking next week. King, a Southern California native, excels on both the singles and doubles courts winning Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles in 2010.

 “We are thrilled with the depth of the Mercury Insurance Open singles draw that will include top 10 players, a former Grand Slam champion, a former World No. 1 and a contingent of rising stars,” said Simon. “It is only appropriate that in an Olympic year, we have a diverse international field who will make the quality of tennis outstanding for fans in attendance.”

A new amateur event, the Mercury Insurance Open Mixed Doubles Challenge, has been added to the special events calendar and will offer $5,000 in prize money. The 16-team tournament, which will take place alongside the WTA main draw (July 14-22), is open to teams consisting of tennis teaching professionals with at least one partner who teaches at a tennis club or public facility in San Diego County. In addition, the Pre-Qualifying tournament, a 16 player singles draw, will be held July 7-12 and award the winner a wildcard into the Mercury Insurance Open qualifying draw (July 14-15). Both the Pre-Qualifier and Qualifying tournaments will be free admission.

For more information about the tournament and the calendar of events, and to purchase tickets, visit mercuryinsuranceopen.com or call 760-930-7032.

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