Gearing Up For The Green
Published April 01, 2010 12:00
With the Sony Ericsson Open winding down, the clay court season is upon the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Prior to the red clay events in Europe that lead up to the French Open, there are a couple of significant green clay events in the US.
Next week is the MPS Group Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach, where three teenagers headline the field. Nineteen-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, who won the first of her three 2009 titles last year at this event, will be looking for her first title of 2010. Eighteen-year-old Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, whose year so far includes her first title in Monterrey and two quarterfinals, could be dangerous. Fellow 18-year-old Melanie Oudin, who followed her semifinal showing in Paris [Indoors] with a quarterfinal appearance in Memphis, will be looking to regain her early season momentum.
Others to watch out for include Alisa Kleybanova, who won her first career Tour singles title earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur; Alona Bondarenko, who was victorious in Hobart at the beginning of 2010; Sabine Lisicki; Dominika Cibulkova, who was the runner-up at this event in 2008 when it was held at Amelia Island; Elena Vesnina; 2009 Ponte Vedra Beach runner-up Aleksandra Wozniak; Virginie Razzano and Lucie Safarova.
Then the following week is the Premier-level Family Circle Cup in Charleston. The elite field is expected to include five of the Top 10 - Serena Williams, Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic and Samantha Stosur.
Williams, champion in Charleston in 2008, will be playing her first event since her Australian Open title in January. Wozniacki was the runner-up last year to Lisicki. Azarenka will be looking for her first title of 2010 after a three-title 2009. Jankovic, who won Indian Wells two weeks ago, was victorious in Charleston in 2007. Stosur rose to a career-high No.10 after making the Indian Wells semis.
Others in the field include Maria Sharapova, Miami semifinalist Marion Bartoli, 2006 Charleston champ Nadia Petrova, 2008 Charleston runner-up Vera Zvonareva, Bondarenko, Daniela Hantuchova, Lisicki, Cibulkova, Vesnina, Pavlyuchenkova, Wozniak, Razzano and Oudin.