Electric Field In Auckland
Published November 24, 2010 12:00
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Two former No.1s and a former No.2 are among a star-studded line-up destined for the ASB Classic in the first week of the new season, it was announced in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday.
Maria Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam champion and one of the two aforementioned former No.1s, will be the No.1 seed. Making her first appearance in New Zealand, Sharapova has had strong results in nearby Australia, winning one of her three career Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open in 2008 (the other two majors came at Wimbledon in 2004 and the US Open in 2006).
Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova are Grand Slam-caliber Russians also named in the field. Safina has reached three major finals and has been as high as No.1; Kuznetsova has won two majors and has been as high as No.2.
Another former Top 10 player, Kimiko Date-Krumm, hopes to continue right where she left off in the fall, looking to become the first 40-something ever to win a WTA title. She won 11 of 16 matches in a phenomenal finish to 2010, having particular success against the top players (she went 5-2 against the Top 20).
Former Top 20 players Yanina Wickmayer, Alona Bondarenko, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Alizé Cornet are also among a packed field, with Wickmayer the defending champion at the International-level event.
"This is a superb list of players from all over the world with plenty of depth, experience and also new faces too," said Richard Palmer, ASB Classic Tournament Director. "Having the likes of Sharapova, Kuznetsova - two Grand Slam winners at the ASB Classic at the same time - along with former No.1 Safina all coming to the country for the first time is fantastic for the ASB Classic and all sport in New Zealand. It's a field full of class and intrigue."
For more information on the tournament, which runs January 3 to 8, 2011, visit the tournament's new official website at www.asbclassic.co.nz.