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China powers women's tennis despite Peng Shuai's uncertain fate

MELBOURNE -- This year's Australian Open brought record-breaking attendance and bumper revenue driven by lucrative Chinese sponsorships, broadcast rights and merchandise deals, prompting the tournament's director to describe it as the Grand Slam's "best ever" edition.

But the absence of Peng Shuai -- the Chinese tennis star and 2017 Australian Open finalist who went missing after she accused China's former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault -- for a third year in a row is a grim reminder for fans and critics who say women's tennis abandoned a top player in favor of Chinese business interests.