No. 1 Up for Grabs in Loaded WTA Sydney Field; DelPo Leads Men
The men and the women gather this week in Sydney for the Apia International, where No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova can claim the world No. 1 ranking if she can navigate a field containing No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. In fact the women’s field is so strong that No. 10-ranked Andrea Petkovic finds herself unseeded.
Joining Wozniacki and Kvitova among the seeds are Victoria Azarenka, reigning French Open champ Li Na, reigning US Open champ Sam Stosur, Vera Zvonareva, Aggie Radwanska and Marion Bartoli.
Tough openers abound with (7) Radwanska vs. sister and qualifier Urszula Radwanska, unseeded former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic vs. Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges, (6) Zvonareva in an all-Russian vs. multi-Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, and (5) Stosur vs. former Slam champ Francesca Schiavone.
Other notables in the field are (WC) Jelena Dokic, former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and last week’s Brisbane finalist Daniela Hantuchova.
The top two seeds receive opening-round byes, so Wozniacki will start against either Peng Shuai or Dominika Cibulkova, and Kvitova against either (LL) Alexandra Dulgheru or (Q) Sofia Arvidsson.
Li is the defending champion in Sydney, and the only former champ in the field.
“I’ve been training hard and looking forward to playing in Australia again,” the 29-year-old said. “Of course I wish I can do well here, but this draw has such a high level. To have so many good players here, like Kvitova and Stosur, it will be tough. And I’ve never won a match against Stosur.”
The men’s field is considerably lacking compared to the women’s, with no Top 10 seeds, led by No. 11-ranked Juan Martin del Potro.
Other men’s seeds are John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Viktor Troicki, Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers and Radek “The Worm” Stepanek.
Opening-round matches of interest include Marcos Baghdatis vs. Dmitry Tursunov in an all-unseeded, (5) Troicki vs. (WC) Lleyton Hewitt, (6) Mayer vs. Gilles Muller, and (8) Stepanek vs. Xavier “X-Man” Malisse.
Other wildcards went to Aussies Matthew Ebden and James Duckworth.
Returning champs in the field are Baghdatis (2010), Tursunov (2008), and Hewitt (2005-04,’01-00).
Ferrer, Spanish Armada Headline ATP Heineken Open in Auckland
Defending champ David Ferrer is the lone Top 10 player in Auckland this week, leading a Spanish armada of seeds including Nicolas Almagro and Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco.
Also enjoying seeded status are Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela, South African Kevin Anderson, Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, American Donald Young and German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
American wildcards Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey square off in the opening round in one of the few potentially entertaining first-round meetings.
Former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero is also unseeded in the field. Seeds Verdasco and Young make their debuts in the main draw.
Former champs in the field are Ferrer (2011,’07) and Kohlschreiber (2008).
Lower Players Scrap for Title at WTA Hobart
Top-seeded Yanina Wickmayer, ranked No. 26, heads the field this week at the Moorilla Hobart International in Australia, where the former Jarmila Groth, now No. 5 seed Jarmila Gajdosova, will attempt to defend her title from 2011.
Other seeds in Hobart are Anabel Medina Garrigues, Monica Niculescu, Angelique Kerber, Shahar Peer, Ksenia Pervak and Irina-Camelia Begu.
Challenging opening-round meetings include (3) Niculescu vs. former Top 10er Anna Chakvetadze, (6) Peer vs. Czech Lucie Hradecka, and an all-Spanish encounter in (2) Medina Garrigues vs. Carla Suarez Navarro.
Wildcards went to Aussies Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty and Anastasia Rodionova.
Qualifying into the main draw were German Mona Barthel, Kiwi Sacha Jones, Italian Romina Oprandi and Brit Heather Watson.
Returning champs in the field are Gajdosova (2011) and Chakvetadze (2007).
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