Tournament 26 Nov 2019

Three more Grand Slam champions bolster ASB Classic women’s field

by Rhonda Karl
Three more Grand Slam champions bolster ASB Classic women’s field

Three more Grand Slam champions have confirmed they’ll be appearing for the 2020 ASB Classic, with former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, 2017 French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko and Russian legend Svetlana Kuznetsova all confirming they’ll be starting their year in Auckland.

Between the trio, there’s 50 WTA singles titles, 4 Grand Slam singles titles and a further 21 WTA doubles titles. All three have been ranked inside the top 5 over their careers, with Wozniacki hitting the top spot in 2010, 2011,2012 and again in 2018, Kuznetsova reaching number two in 2007 and Ostapenko shot to her career high ranking of number five in 2018.

Tournament Director Karl Budge is thrilled to have such high calibre players confirmed for the tournament.

“This is clearly the best field we have ever had here in Auckland.  It will be the first time we have had two top 10 players, when you then add in three further Grand Slam winners, our two time defending champion (Goerges) and the two best prospects on the WTA, you have an incredible line up” said Budge.

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2020 will be a battle between youth and experience with a real mix of well-established tour players taking on the generation next of the WTA.  Serena Williams, Wozniacki, Julia Goerges and Kuznetsova hold a collective 127 WTA titles between them however 2019 has already shown this new breed is here to play.  Youngsters such as US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Roland Garros semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, teen sensation Coco Gauff will be joined by the 7th seeded Cici Bellis, Ostapenko and the highly touted Daria Kasatkina who knocked out Venus Williams in her first appearance in Auckland in 2017. 

The inform player of this season, 19-year old Bianca Andreescu will headline the 2020 ASB Classic. The Canadian teen’s rise to fame started here in Auckland where she won the hearts and minds of the kiwi tennis fans, when she not only qualified but beat two former world number ones (Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki) on route to reach her maiden WTA tour final. That week set the tone for the rest of the year where she captured three WTA titles at Indiana Wells, her hometown event in Toronto and the US Open. One year ago, Andreescu was ranked 178, she is now sitting at number 5 in the world.

The tournament second seed needs little introduction, 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams. The American is widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, amassing an incredible 319 weeks at number one, and capturing 72 WTA titles. This season the mother of one reached another two Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Rounding out the top three is Petra Martic who’s at her career high ranking of 15 after winning her maiden WTA title this year in Istanbul. It’s been a strong year for the 28-year-old Croatian who’s continuing to reach new highs, reaching the fourth round at both Wimbledon and the US Open, where she went down to Serena Williams, and reaching the final of the Premier level tournament in Zhengzhou.

5th seed and defending champion Julia Goerges will be looking to make it a three-peat after taking out the ASB Classic title for the last two years.  Goerges has been the best player in Auckland in the recent era reaching four final’s and two semi-finals in the last seven years.

Another notable inclusion to this year’s field and ones to watch are American teens Amanda Anisimova and Catherine “CiCi” Bellis, who’s coming back from a major injury. In 2017, CiCi was named the WTA newcomer of the year at just 18 years old, was the youngest player in the top 100 finishing 2017 the year ranked 35. Her future looked bright until she was side lined for 20 months with multiple arm surgeries. CiCi is finally back on court and has gained entry to the main draw with her protected ranking.  In her first WTA tournament back, Bellis reaching the semi-final of the Oracle 125 event in Houston.

And young sensation Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff will be another teen to keep an eye on, with the 15 year old making waves internationally with her superb year on the tour, and already been earmarked for greatness by the likes of tennis Legend Billie Jean King.

The full field includes a staggering 164 combined WTA titles with every player aside three having been a WTA champion previously.

 “There is just so much depth throughout the field.  Our second to last entry was the gold medallist from Rio (Monica Puig).  Players such as Garcia, Kasatkina and Carla Suárez-Navarro have all been in or just outside the top ten for some time, yet will be un-seeded here in Auckland.  It is a staggeringly strong field” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.

It’s clear the 2020 ASB Classic will be the best one yet with a great mix of youth and experience across the board, a sentiment echoed by ASB head of community and sponsorship, Mark Graham.

“The ASB Classic has become a staple part of the Kiwi summer, and this year is no different. From the returning champions through to some of the newer faces, we’re always excited to see who will be contesting the title, and the announcement today of a further three grand slam champions really cements this as one of the best line-up’s we’ve seen here at the ASB Classic.”

While we can’t predict who’ll get to the final stanza, what we can guarantee is mouth-watering match ups from the opening rounds!

Full List of main draw players for the 2020 ASB Classic Women’s Week

  1. Bianca Andreescu (5)
  2. Serena Williams (10)
  3. Petra Matric (15)
  4. Amanda Anisimova (24)
  5. Julia Goerges (28)
  6. Caroline Wozniacki (37)
  7. Catherine Bellis (43)
  8. Rebecca Peterseon (44)
  9. Jelena Ostapenko (45)
  10. Caroline Garcia (46
  11. Alison Van Uytvanck (47)
  12. Viktoria Kuzmova (52)
  13. Svetlana Kuznetsova (54)
  14. Carla Suárez Navarro (55)
  15. Alizé Cornet (59)
  16. Tamara Zidansek (63)
  17. Lauren Davis (64)
  18. Cori Gauff (68)
  19. Daria Kasatkina (69)
  20. Kirsten Flipkens (70)
  21. Jil Teichmann (73)
  22. Laura Siegemund (75)
  23. Monica Puig (79)
  24. Taylor Townsend (82)
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