Home crowd favorites; 2016 champion Cagla Buyukakcay, Ayla Aksu and Ipek Oz have received main draw wildcards for the 2018 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.

Buyukakcay, who clinched the biggest title of Turkish tennis two years ago at the Garanti Koza Park, is the first ever Turk to win a tour-level title and to represent her country at the in tennis at the Olympics. Last year’s quarter-finalist Cagla has reached a career-high singles ranking of no. 60. Her best Grand Slam results came in 2016&2017 French Open and 2016 US Open where she played second round. “No doubt that TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup is my favorite event. Here is my home. I am extremely excited to be competing in the maindraw in front of home crowd at a venue where I have the best memories of my life. Thanks a lot for this opportunity!” says 28-year-old Turkish trailblazer.

Grabbing her first tour-level win, defeating Elizaveta Kulichkova in last year’s tournament, Aksu will again try to pay away the wildcard she’s given. Member of Turkish Fed Cup Team for two years, Ayla reached maiden finals in ITF 60K and 25K level tournaments last year. Aksu, who is on the verge of breaking into top 200 in the WTA rankings, also won three gold medals at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games held in Baku. “I am very glad to be competing again in the main draw and thankful to Koza World of Sports for this priceless opportuniy. I love playing at home and will do my best to get better results” says Aksu regarding the wildcard and the tournament.

Turkey’s young talent Ipek Oz will experience her first-ever WTA level main draw journey. 1999-born leftie, who’s been training at the Koza World of Sports, won maiden title of her professional career last October in Antalya. She drew attention in the last year’s tournament where she lost a very close match against world no. 148 Anna Kalinskaya in the opening round of qualifying. Despite leading 5-3 in the decider, Oz dropped four games in a row but still received applause for her brave fight. Ipek states “I am extremely honored and happy to receive wildcard. Beyond doubt it will be a wonderful experience, looking forward to play at the Garanti Koza Park.”