Yanina's Chance To Shine
Published May 15, 2011 10:18
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Yanina Wickmayer knows how to perform in front on her home fans - she's done it in Fed Cup play a bunch of times. But this week, the young Belgian No.2 has a chance to strut her stuff at the inaugural Brussels Open, the WTA's newest Premier-level stop.
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Wickmayer, seeded sixth at the $618,000 red clay event, won't find the path to local glory and a fourth WTA title easy, though. The celebrated Kim Clijsters might be sidelined, but four of the Top 10 have still descended on the seat of the European Union, led by world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva, who is seeded No.2, enjoy first round byes, which should help keep them just that little bit fresher both this week, and looking ahead to Roland Garros. But both will relish the chance to hone their clay court games ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.
No such luxury has been accorded to third seed Francesca Schiavone, who put in a solid quarterfinal effort at Rome last week - and has clearly decided match play is the best preparation ahead of her French Open title defense. The 30-year-old opens against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic is seeded No.4 and opens her account against Anastasia Rodionova.
Joining Wickmayer in the second tier of seeds are Shahar Peer, who holds down No.5; Alexandra Dulgheru, who is seeded No.7; and China's Peng Shuai, seeded eighth and coming off doubles victory in Rome with Zheng Jie. Dulgheru, in particular, has plenty to fight for here - this tournament has taken the slot of the Warsaw Open, where the Romanian would have been the two-time defending champion this year.
Wildcards have been awarded to Belgians Kirsten Flipkens and An-Sophie Mestach, while the doubles top seeds are Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond of the United States.
Also of note in Brussels this week: Dominique Monami (van Roost), who rose as high as No.9 in the rankings in 1998 and won four WTA singles titles during her playing career, is making her debut as a WTA tournament director.