Dementieva Headlines in the Duchy
Published October 17, 2010 12:00
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - A classy field assembles this week for the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open - the final International-level tournament of 2010. The $220,000 event's last three champions illuminate the draw, led by world No.9 Elena Dementieva, who beat Caroline Wozniacki in a nail-biting final here two years ago.
Russian star Dementieva, who turned 29 last week, has already booked her place at next week's season-ending WTA Championships in Doha, but aside from the trophy and an end-of-season confidence boost there is still plenty at stake in the Duchy this week. In short, the paradise of Bali will be in the minds of several players.
Luxembourg No.2 seed and Strasbourg champ Aravane Rezai is assured of a chance to defend the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions title she won 12 months ago. And third-seeded Yanina Wickmayer, who is coming of an ITF Circuit win in her native Belgium and won the Tour title at Auckland in January, is well placed to qualify for the season finale.
Daniela Hantuchova, runner-up in Luxembourg in 2007 and the fifth seed this year, could qualify for Bali if she wins in Luxembourg, but has a wildcard offer to fall back on. Ditto Ana Ivanovic, this week's No.4 seed, who may no longer need her Bali wildcard after her scorching run to her first title in two years at Linz and an attendant jump in the rankings.
That leaves Luxembourg's No.7 seed, Jarmila Groth, and No.8 seed, Julia Goerges - who won their respective maiden titles at Guangzhou and Bad Gastein this year - as longshots to qualify for Bali, depending on their own results in Luxembourg, as well as those of Alona Bondarenko in Moscow. The ranking of Agnes Szavay, twice an International titlist in 2010 but inactive this week, will also come into play, as will the fortunes of Li Na. In Moscow this week Li will wage battle with Victoria Azarenka to secure the first alternate slot at Doha.
Feisty Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, who beat Sabine Lisicki for the Luxembourg crown last year, is back as the No.6 seed. Aside from Dementieva, wildcards have gone to Virginie Razzano, 15-year-old Russian Yulia Putintseva and Luxembourg's own Mandy Minella, still buzzing from a fine run to the third round of the US Open.