Published September 20, 2009 06:38
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Defending champion Sorana Cirstea might not be back, but the Tashkent Open has a history of serving as a springboard for up-and-coming talent, so who will raise the stakes on their career this week?
Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova is the top seed, and coming off her best-ever Grand Slam result - a third round finish at the US Open, which included a stunning upset of Jelena Jankovic. Earlier in the summer the 22-year-old reached the semis at Bad Gastein and the quarters at Palermo, and might just be poised to pounce on the trophy this week. Her first test comes in the form of Maria Elena Camerin of Italy.
Seeded second and on a roll is Shahar Peer, the Israeli who won her first title in three years at Guangzhou last week. The No.3 seed is Ioana Raluca Olaru, who was runner-up at Bad Gastein, and would be only too happy to assume Romanian compatriot Cirstea's mantle.
Olga Govortsova, who pocketed the doubles title in China on Sunday with fellow Belarusian Tatiana Poutchek, is seeded fourth, with Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland at No.5 and Monica Niculescu of Romania at No.6. Austria's Patricia Mayr is seeded seventh while another Kazakh, Galina Voskoboeva, is the No.8 seed.
Wildcards have been awarded to 15-year-old Sabina Sharipova, 16-year-old Aleksandra Kolesnichenko and 15-year-old Nigina Abduraimova, who are all from the host nation. Also in the draw is local favorite Akgul Amanmuradova, who has dipped to No.113 in the rankings but will be hoping to score a confidence-boosting win over a qualifier in the first round.
Shvedova and Turkey's Ipek Senoglu are the top seeds in the doubles.