Published July 04, 2010 12:00
BUDAPEST, Hungary - After the brief grass court interlude, the $220,000 GDF Suez Grand Prix marks a welcome return to the red stuff for some of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest talents.
Powerful Russian Alisa Kleybanova is the international event's top seed, and having gotten the maiden-title monkey off her back at the Malaysian Open in February, the world No.27 should be a free-swinging favorite at the business end of the week.
Ditto No.2 seed Alexandra Dulgheru, who has enjoyed an even better year. It's hard to believe the 21-year-old Romanian didn't even make the entry cut at Wimbledon 12 months ago, given in recent months she has successfully defended her Premier-level Warsaw Open title and pushed Justine Henin hard in the semis at 's-Hertogenbosch.
Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, who is of Hungarian heritage, also made her Top 40 debut recently and will be keen to better last year's quarterfinal run as the No.3 seed. Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues, always a threat on clay, is seeded fourth; China's Peng Shuai returns to action having missed the grass swing due to illness as the No.5 seed; Italy's Roberta Vinci is seeded sixth.
Defending champion and local favorite Agnes Szavay is seeded seventh; Patty Schnyder, who was runner-up to the Hungarian No.1 last year is also back, unseeded and set to meet a qualifier in the first round. Slovenia's Polona Hercog, who was runner-up to Venus Williams on clay at Acapulco in the spring - and has a training base in Budapest - rounds out the seedings at No.8.
Wildcards have been awarded to Hungary's Timea Babos, 16-year-old Silvia Njiric of Croatia and France's Alizé Cornet, who won her sole Tour singles title here in 2008.
Romania's Sorana Cirstea, singles finalist in 2007, and Medina Garrigues are the top seeds in the doubles.