Published May 16, 2010 12:00
WARSAW, Poland - She might have been born in Denmark but with her Polish heritage Caroline Wozniacki will be treated as homecoming queen at this week's Polsat Warsaw Open, where she will be playing as the world No.3 and top seed. The 30-strong draw harbors another three Top 15 stars, however, so the 19-year-old can't take the crown for granted.
Indeed, Wozniacki and No.2 seed Elena Dementieva, who enjoy first round byes, will be keen to win matches this week: Both are coming off disappointing red clay seasons.
On green clay Wozniacki won the International title at Ponte Vedra Beach and made the semis at Charleston, but subsequently lost early at Stuttgart, Rome and Madrid; it's been a similar story for sixth-ranked Dementieva, who won one match at Rome before falling to Ana Ivanovic, and one match at Madrid before succumbing to Alexandra Dulgheru in three tight sets.
Dementieva could bump into Dulgheru again in the quarterfinals this week. Having never previously won a Tour-level match the young Romanian was, of course, the surprise champion at Warsaw last year - as a qualifier. While that proved a hard act to follow over the rest of the season the almost-21-year-old has made considerable progress in recent months, cracking the Top 40 last week. Though unseeded she will fancy her chances against No.7 seed Kateryna Bondarenko, who is playing her first tournament since injuring herself at Dubai in February.
Chinese star Li Na, the world No.13, is seeded third and coming off quarterfinal runs at both Stuttgart and Madrid. Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli prefers harder, faster surfaces but as ever will be a contender as fourth seed.
Wildcards have been awarded to Warsaw native Marta Domachowska and 19-year-old Katarzyna Piter, who play each other in the first round. Meantime, former top tenner Anna Chakvetadze, the No.1 seed in the qualifying event, is one win away from securing a main draw berth.