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WTT Star Contender heads to Goa at Peddem Stadium in Mapusa from January 23 to 28

The WTT Series is heading back to the beach in 2024 with the return of WTT Star Contender Goa. Set to be staged from 23-28 January at Peddem Indoor Stadium, the event will offer up a total prize pool of USD 250,000 as well as 600 World Ranking points for the winners. With things kicking off in a little over a month, the first entries have been confirmed.

Cheng I-Ching is coming back another shot at the title after an impressive run in 2024 that saw her going all the way to the final. Last year the World No.18 surprised everyone as she carved her way through the draw, knocking out the likes of Hina Hayata, Elizabeta Samara and Miu Hirano before ultimately losing the title to Wang Yidi. Cheng will be after the same form as she steps out in India once again to defend the 420pts she picked up last March.

The competition for the podium is already looking fierce with Shin Yubin currently standing on top of the entry list. The 19-year-old will be after a better showing than her 2023 appearance where she was eliminated in the round of 32 in five games by Elizabeta Samara. While Shin won two Contender titles last year, the World No.9 was unable to move beyond the round 16 in four Star Contender outings. Goa will provide another shot at making a deeper run in the WTT Series event tier.

Meanwhile, local hopes will rest on the shoulders of Manika Batra. The World No.39 leads the home-ground charge and will be eager to improve on her round of 16 finish in 2023. Batra will also be joined in the main draw by Sreeja Akula who will look to continue the trend of career high rankings she had last January

Over in the Men's Singles, 2023 semifinalist Felix Lebrun is making a return to Goa. India was a chapter in the story of Lebrun's breakout year which saw him win his first WTT Series title. The World No.8 will be out for more milestones as he heads back India in search of the podium.

The draw will be loaded with blockbuster clashes as Hugo Calderano makes his Goa debut. With three Contender titles in 2023, the Brazilian will be after his first Star Contender title since Doha II in 2021.

Local hopes will be on India's highest ranked Men's Singles rep, Harmeet Desai. The home crowd will no doubt help the series stalwart continue his incredible 2023 charge up the rankings ladder that saw him reach as high as No.61.

Nestled along the pristine shores of the Arabian Sea, Goa captivates with its unique blend of rich heritage and vibrant Indian culture. From the distinctive charm of its architecture to the lively markets and lush landscapes, the city offers a sensory feast for all who explore its dynamic streets. With golden beaches stretching as far as the eye can see and a rich tapestry of traditions, Goa stands as a captivating destination where history, culture, and natural beauty converge.

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