2013 ASB Classic: Tournament Preview
It is now only a matter of days before the ASB Classic kicks off. The excitement is building as many of our international tennis stars arrive in Auckland.
The ASB Classic defending champion Zheng Jie has returned to Auckland with a world ranking of 26. Zheng will have a battle on her hands with four other women ranked inside the world top 30.
Watch out for the tournament’s top seed and world no.4 Agnieszka Radwanska. After a career best year Radwanska will make her first appearance at the ASB Classic. She has been in the top 10 since 2008, has 10 career titles, and has won a total of $US10 million in prize money.
Julia Goerges from Germany will be another tough contender for the singles title. 2013 will be her fourth consecutive visit to the ASB tournament and she enters with a ranking of 18. In 2012 Goerges reached the third round at both Wimbledon and Roland Garros and competed in her first Olympic Games.
The 2010 ASB Classic champion and 2011 finalist Yanina Wickmayer will be returning to Auckland for another shot at the singles title after finishing the year with a ranking of 23. The Belgian made the third round at Wimbledon but fell in the second round of the Olympics to Wozniacki.
The tournament's fifth ranked woman inside the world top 30 is Romanian Sorana Cirstea. 2012 was a strong year for the 22 year old who improved her ranking from 60 to 27. She broke Australian hearts at the Australian Open when she beat the home favourite and defending US Open champion Sam Stosur in the first round 7-6 6-3. Her 2012 season included four semi-final runs and two quarter-final berths.
The 2013 ASB Classic will have three former champions competing. 2012 champion Zheng Jie, 2010 champion Yanina Wickmayer, and 2003/2004 winner Eleni Daniilidou who has been given a wildcard.
The 30 year old Greek enters the tournament with a ranking of 100, but with a wealth of experience behind her she should not be underestimated. Keep an eye out for home favourite and New Zealand’s top player Marina Erakovic who has a tournament ranking of 67. Injuries cut her 2012 season short after the US Open, but she’ll be looking for a return to form for the start of 2013.
Qualifying rounds begin tomorrow morning at 9.30am.