Twelve months after losing in the final, Ksenia Pervak returns as top seed for the 2012 Baku Cup.
WTA Staff

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Twelve months ago Ksenia Pervak made her WTA breakthrough with a runner-up finish at the Baku Cup. This week she returns to the Caucasus as top seed and aiming to go one better.

Pervak's 2012 has been something of a mixed bag, combining promising showings at Bad Gastein, Indian Wells and Miami with a string of early exits elsewhere.

However, the draw has been kind to the Kazakh - her half contains just one player inside the Top 100 - and on her favored hardcourts she will be confident of another deep run.

Her principal competition for the title is likely to come from Alexandra Panova. The Russian, seeded No.2, has enjoyed a productive first half of the year, reaching a maiden WTA final in Bogotá and a career-best ranking of No.72.

Also in Panova's quarter is fellow Russian and No.6 seed Nina Bratchikova. Like Panova, Bratchikova has been rising up the ranks fast of late and showed during a third round run at the Australian Open the potential damage her heavy-hitting baseline game can do on hardcourts.

The other seeds are Mandy Minella, Andrea Hlavackova, Bojana Jovanovski, Akgul Amanmuradova and Eva Birnerova. All have enjoyed success on hard in the past and with such an open draw are undoubtedly in the mix for the $37,000 winner's check.

The International-level tournament, staged at the newly build Baku Tennis Academy and organized by former Top 20 player Leila Meskhi, is in its second year as a WTA stop-off.

The inaugural title was won by former World No.2 Vera Zvonareva, while the doubles trophy was picked up by Mariya Koryttseva and Tatiana Poutchek.