China's two-time grand slam winner Li Na made her first appearance on court as she inaugurated the new tennis stadium in Wuhan.
Li Na's fans quipped that Alisa was born for tennis. June 3 is also the birthday of Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal.
Li Na will go up against another tennis legend, Serena Williams, for the women's award.
Li Na, The two-time Grand Slam winner, hugely popular at Melbourne Park where she won the title last year and reached the final in 2011 and 2013, unexpectedly retired in September.
Li Na, wearing high heels and a flowing black evening dress, opened the WTA Finals in Singapore with a ceremonial first serve.
Australian Open's prize money will increase 10 per cent and the winners of both the men's and women's singles Grand Slam final will take home Aus$3 million.
Serena Williams, who won her 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open, said all top athletes are at risk when pushing their bodies to the limit.
Maria Sharapova feels Li Na should have no regrets although her retirement is a big loss to international tennis.
Stars are set to battle hard in Wuhan Open even as local favourite Li Na announced her shock retirement close to the start of the event.
Chinese tennis sensation Li Na announced her retirement and said that she is satisfied with her career and felt the time was right to quit.
Second seed Li Na, who had advanced to the quarterfinals three times before at Wimbledon, looked out of sorts for most of the Court 1 match. She blew a set point in the second set.
Li Na, Asia's highest-ranking player in tennis history and the top seed at the WTA tournament, downed Peng, who was seeded fifth, 6-4, 7-5.
Li Na, Asia's highest-ranking player in tennis history, opened strongly, besting Niculescu 7-5 in the first set.
Li, who won the inaugural title last year, lost her serve once while breaking Kichenok five times.
Serena Williams successfully defended her WTA Championships title, beating Li Na, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, to finish 2013 with a 78th victory against just four losses, and 11th title of the year.
At the age of 31, Li Na has not only become the first Asian to reach world number three but her game is evolving cleverly enough to hope for further triumphs in 2014.
Williams collected her 11th title of the year and became the first player to defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007.
The world No.1 overcame physical difficulties, emotional distress as well as a stubborn opponent in Jelena Jankovic before reaching the final of the WTA Championships with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win.