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Young Guns Headline In Bogotá

Julia Goerges, Polona Hercog and Simona Halep lead the clay court field at the XIX Copa BBVA Colsanitas.

Published February 13, 2011 11:20

Young Guns Headline In Bogotá
Julia Goerges
BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Her Top 30 debut beckoning, Germany's Julia Goerges is top seed at this week's XIX Copa BBVA Colsanitas. But the 22-year-old world No.34 faces stiff competition for the $220,000 title, not least from two of the best youngsters around: Polona Hercog, who is seeded No.2, and third-seeded Simona Halep.

Sustainable progress has always been Goerges' goal, and on that front she must be pretty satisfied at the moment. She made her title breakthrough at Bad Gastein last July, which saw her crack the Top 50, and went close to capturing a second trophy at the end of the season, falling to Roberta Vinci in the final at Luxembourg. This year she's been a semifinalist at Auckland and pushed Maria Sharapova to three tight sets in the third round of the Australian Open - her best Grand Slam showing to date.

Goerges has also collected three WTA doubles titles so far, most recently at Seoul last autumn with none other than Hercog. The pair might be good friends, but they will take no prisoners should they reach their appointed slots in the final: while she didn't have the best of swings Down Under, lanky Slovene Hercog beat Goerges in Fed Cup play last weekend, and must like her chances of a maiden WTA title on clay this week.

Like Hercog, who was beaten by Venus Williams in the final at Acapulco last February, 19-year-old Halep experienced her first title match in 2010. While Iveta Benesova had too much experience in the final at Fès, it's worth remembering Halep was playing just her third WTA main draw. Since then it's been onward and upward, with recent highlights including a quarterfinal run at Auckland and an impressive win over Alisa Kleybanova to reach the third round in Melbourne.

The rest of the seedings are distinctly Spanish in flavor, with Romania's recently-married Edina Gallovits-Hall the exception at No.6.

Arantxa Parra Santonja, who reached her first WTA final at Estoril last year, is seeded fourth; Carla Suárez Navarro is seeded fifth; Lourdes Domínguez Lino, champion here in 2006 and runner-up in 2005, returns as the No.7 seed; and 2003 finalist Anabel Medina Garrigues will look to rebuild her confidence as the No.8 seed.

Last year's home town heroine, Mariana Duque Marino, embarks on her title defence without the protection of a seeding - and that means that if she gets past China's Han Xinyun in the first round, she could bump right into Goerges. Duque Marino's veteran compatriot, Catalina Castaño, received one of the wildcards with the other two going to the Spaniards Silvia Soler Espinosa and Leticia Costas-Moreira.

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