Bartoli Top Seed In Barcelona
Published April 24, 2011 10:28
BARCELONA, Spain - Marion Bartoli makes no secret of the fact that clay isn't her favorite surface. But that doesn't mean the 26-year-old Frenchwoman doesn't want to improve her relationship with red stuff - her home Slam is Roland Garros, after all. And to prove it the world No.12 has accepted a wildcard into this week's Barcelona Ladies Open, where she will be the $220,000 tournament's top seed.
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Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon finalist who recently enjoyed a stint back in the Top 10 after her run to the final at Indian Wells, was bundled out of last week's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix by Kristina Barrois in the second round. She faces another dangerous opponent in the opening round here, Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.
Classy Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru is the No.2 seed, looking for a different clay court title to win after the Warsaw Open, where she would have been two-time defending champion this year, was dropped from the calendar. Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova is seeded No.3 - with a tough opener against newly-crowned Fès champion Alberta Brianti - and Russia's Ekaterina Makarova is seeded fourth.
Italy's Sara Errani is seeded fifth and her Fed Cup teammate Roberta Vinci, who won the title here two years ago and was runner-up to Francesca Schiavone 12 months ago, returns as the No.6 seed.
Czech lefty Iveta Benesova is seeded seventh, while her Fed Cup doubles partner, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, is the No.9 seed - promoted after Spain's Lourdes Domínguez Lino, who would have been the No.8 seed, was forced to withdraw due to a foot injury. Benesova and Zahlavova Strycova, who won the decisive fifth rubber in the Czech Republic's semifinal win over Belgium last week, are the top seeds in the Barcelona doubles event.
In addition to Bartoli, wildcards have gone to Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, while perhaps the most fascinating first round match-up sees Argentine star Gisela Dulko take on crafty Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm.