Main Draw Record for Russians on hand, Qualifiers go 6 for 6
The Australian Open hosted the Russian mass at it's most impressive preformance ever two years ago, then 14 girls made it to the main draw, all of which making it past the first round, completing a forceful lineup in the round of 64.
last year, 16 represenitives from the most dominant Country on tour showed up for round one, though only 11 of them made it past the first hurdle.
This year the line-up might be hurt by the absence of Myskina, and the possible last-minute pull outs of Petrova and Kuznetsova, both of whom retired midway in thier respective matches in the TierII event bieng held in Sydeny this week.
Still - so far Sharapova, Dementieva, Safina, Chakvetadze, Zvonareva, Kirilenko, Poutchkova, Lihovtseva, Bardina, Vesnina, Bychkova, Rodionova, Dushevina, Voskoboeva are all direct entries for the upcoming slam, with Elena Bovina entering the event with a protected ranking, coming back from injury. that brings it up to 15 participants, and should the two questionable top-stars from Moscow and St. Petersburg arive, we would already have equaled 2006 feature and raised it by one.
Yesterday first Qualification round was completed at the women's side, and the 6 Russian competitors all posted victories.
Youngsters Alla Kudryavtseva, Evgeniya Rodina, Yaroslava Shvedova and Ekaterina Ivanova, all under 20 years of age, as well as last years champion of the Junior event - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and the older Lioudmila Skavronskaia all advanced in different levels of ease - Rodina quickly dispatched of Angela Haynes, losing only 3 games in 70 minutes, While Alla battled it in a lengthy match of which the final set alone lasted 79 minutes, winning it over against fellow youngster Cibulkova 6-4 5-7 9-7.
None of the russians can theoreticly run into each other prior the final round, two of the girls are seeded, thus not having to meet a fellow seed in the second round, and none have participated in the Aussie Open before.
it seems as though the Russian participation list record is bound to be broken - The real question seems to be "Will they ever stop coming?"
With the first two weeks of play on tour providing a 2 titles and two runner-up appearances already, it looks like another year of quality, and MASS quantity.
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