Latest 20 Nov 2012

Two former world no.2s to bolster ASB Classic field

Two former world no.2s to bolster ASB Classic field

Former world no.2 players Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova are the star additions to next year’s ASB Classic as the tournament’s full field was revealed today.

The Russian pair, who won the doubles title at this year’s Australian Open, bolster an already classy field with the sixth top 30 player also confirmed today – Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.

New ASB Classic Tournament Director Karl Budge says he never thought he would have three former world no. 2s playing in Auckland, with the tournament’s top billing Agnieszka Radwanska also reaching that spot earlier this year.

“The tournament promises to be a great contest between the young blood of Radwanska, Goerges and Shvedova against the wise heads of Zvonareva and Kuznetsova. And the two former champions [Wickmayer and Zheng] will keep them all honest.”

Zvonareva, with 12 career titles under her belt, was ranked at no. 2 just two years ago when she was a finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open. This time last year she was playing in the season-ending championships for the world’s top eight players.

Despite making the third rounds at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, Zvonareva’s season has been affected by niggly injuries. The 28-year-old has a good record in Auckland being a finalist in 2006 and 2007.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner (at the US Open in 2004 and Roland Garros in 2009), reached the semifinals in Auckland this year. She went through to the fourth round at Roland Garros in May but struggled with a knee injury for the latter part of the year.

Defending champion and world no. 26 Zheng Jie confirmed at the weekend that she will be returning. This means the top six players all come from the world top 30 – Poland’s Radwanska (no. 4), Germany’s Julia Goerges (no. 18), 2010 champion Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer (no. 23), China’s Zheng, Romania’s Sorana Cirstea (no.27) and Shvedova (no.29).

Shvedova made headlines this year when she became the first woman in the open era to win a golden set – winning all 24 points in a single set – in the first set of her win over world no. 7 Sara Errani at Wimbledon. She went to a career high 25 in the world last month after making the French Open quarterfinals and the fourth round at Wimbledon. The former Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion has made one appearance in Auckland in 2006.

The ASB Classic field also features Kiwi no. 1 Marina Erakovic, and up and comers Heather Watson (UK) and Christina McHale (USA), who is ranked just outside the top 30 at 33 in the world.

The ASB Classic field for 2013 is truly international with 16 countries represented.

The top seeds will be available for interviews at the Meet the Seeds media event on Saturday 29 December at the ASB Tennis Arena.

The 2013 ASB Classic runs from 31 December this year to 5 January 2013 and tickets are on sale from Ticketek. On the opening day – New Year’s Eve – Budge says there’ll be plenty of action both on and off the court.

“Not only will the stars of the tennis world entertain fans, but renowned Kiwi tenor Geoff Sewell (Amici Forever) will headline an action-packed New Year’s Eve celebration throughout the day and night.”

All centre court matches for the ASB Classic will be screened live on SKY TV from the start of play at midday.

ASB Classic 2013 full field

World ranking-Player-Country

  1. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska Poland
  2. 18 Julia Goerges Germany
  3. 23 Yanina Wickmayer Belgium
  4. 26 Zheng Jie China
  5. 27 Sorana Cirstea Romania
  6. 29 Yaroslava Shvedova Kazakhstan
  7. 33 Christina McHale USA
  8. 39 Mona Barthel Germany
  9. 47 Simona Halep Romania
  10. 49 Heather Watson Great Britain
  11. 54 Kirsten Flipkens Belgium
  12. 55 Petra Cetkovska Czech Republic
  13. 61 Romina Oprandi Switzerland
  14. 62 Magdalena Rybarikova Slovakia
  15. 63 Kiki Bertens Netherlands
  16. 66 Pauline Parmienter France
  17. 67 Marina Erakovic New Zealand
  18. 68 Arantxa Rus Netherlands
  19. 69 Elena Vesnina Russia
  20. 71 Jamie Hampton USA
  21. 72 Svetlana Kuznetsova Russia
  22. 73 Johanna Larsson Sweden
  23. 76 Kristina Mladenovic France
  24. 78 Polona Hercog Slovakia
  25. Wildcard Vera Zvonareva Russia
  26. Wildcard TBC