Wozniacki, Sharapova Headline Warsaw Field

All eyes will be on Maria Sharapova, who has accepted a wildcard into the Premier-level Warsaw Open.

Published May 17, 2009 12:00

Wozniacki, Sharapova Headline Warsaw Field
Maria Sharapova

WARSAW, Poland - After a year's hiatus the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour returns to the Polish capital this week for the $600,000 Warsaw Open, but at a new venue, the Legia Tennis Centre. Amid an intriguing Premier-level field, much focus promises to fall on a certain wildcard entrant: Maria Sharapova, making her first singles outing in nine months after surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in her right shoulder.

The draw has not been kind to the former world No.1 and three-time Grand Slam champion, however. Assuming the current No.65 makes it past Italian veteran Tathiana Garbin in the first round, the 22-year-old Russian could run into Warsaw's top seed, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Thanks to her run to the final at Madrid last week, Wozniacki will make her Top 10 debut when the rankings are released on Monday, and will be keen to go one better in a country where she has roots - both her parents are Polish-born, which may not be lost on fans, especially in light of the withdrawal of home favorite Agnieszka Radwanska due to a lower back injury.

In the absence of Radwanska, China's Zheng Jie retains her No.3 seeding but has assumed the Polish star's place at the bottom of the draw. She opens against Olga Govortsova of Belarus.

Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak is seeded fourth, and starts against Julia Goerges of Germany. Sara Errani of Italy is seeded fifth, while Daniela Hantuchova has been awarded a wildcard and is seeded sixth. Rounding out the seeds are Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US at No.7; coming off a great week in Madrid, where she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anna Chakvetadze to reach the quarters, Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko - runner-up to Justine Henin in Warsaw in 2007 - is seeded eighth. Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova has been installed as the No.9 seed, and plays Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round.

After Sharapova and Hantuchova, the Warsaw Open's third wildcard was awarded to Poland's Katarzyna Piter. The local contingent also includes Marta Domachowska and Agnieszka's younger sister, Urszula, who is hovering around the 80 mark in the rankings and couldn't wish for a better stage to step out of her sister's shadow.

Others to watch include Australian Open quarterfinalist Jelena Dokic, who reached the semis on her last visit to Warsaw in 2003 - as the world No.10 and fourth seed she fell to a second-seeded Amélie Mauresmo.

The Czech-American duo of Kveta Peschke and Lisa Raymond are the doubles top seeds, followed by Zheng and Yan Zi at No.2. Raquel Kops-Jones and Mattek-Sands are the No.3 seeds and the Bondarenko sisters are seeded fourth.

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