Published July 25, 2010 12:00
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Recent months have thrown up plenty of surprises on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and some of the key headline-makers feature in the draw of this week's $220,000 Istanbul Cup.
The top seed is French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, who stunned the tennis world with her feisty display at Roland Garros, days before her 30th birthday. The Italian world No.8 struggled to regroup during the grass court season but the hardcourts in the spectacular Turkish city should suit her better. Britain's Anne Keothavong won't go away easily in the first round, however.
Also looking to repeat recent star turns are Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova, who both made unexpected runs to the semis at Wimbledon; they are seeded No.2 and No.5 respectively this week. Czech Lefty Kvitova faces a tricky opener against match-tough Anastasija Sevastova, who has reached two quarterfinals in the last three weeks. Pironkova plays Tatjana Malek.
The highest-ranked teenager on the Tour, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, is seeded third; she was also the No.3 seed at Portoroz last week but was upset by surging Swede Johanna Larsson in the quarters. For her part Larsson, who fell to Anna Chakvetadze in the Portoroz final, will test her level against Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, runner-up at Budapest two weeks ago and Istanbul's No.8 seed.
Yaroslava Shvedova, who reached the quarters at Roland Garros and won the doubles at Wimbledon with Vania King, is seeded fourth; Andrea Petkovic, who lost in the second round of her title defense at Bad Gastein last week but reached the semis here last year, is seeded sixth; and Czech Klara Zakopalova rounds out the seedings at No.8.
Starting in 2011, Istanbul is set to host the Tour's season-ending championships for three years.