Tamarine Tanasugarn has an uphill task as she is drawn to meet Rossana Neffa-De Los Rios of Paraguay in the first round of the US$110,000 Volvo Women's Open after the draw was conducted yesterday at the Dusit Resort Hotel.
The Thai, who last year made an early exit at the hands of Tatiana Poutcheck of Belarus, will play the world No 79, last year's semi-finalist, in one of the toughest first round matches of the tournament.
The two have met twice in their career with the Thai winning their first encounter at Wimbledon in 2000 in straight sets before the latter turned the tables in Bali earlier this year in three sets. Neffa-De Los Rios, who has the longest name among the top 100 players, might have fierce groundstrokes and a more powerful game, but the Thai is not worried as she says she knows how to tackle her opponent.
"She has powerful balls and uses lots of spin. But if I attack first and force her into making errors, I should have a chance to win the match,'' said world No 31 Tamarine, who claimed injuries resulted in her loss to the Paraguayan in their second encounter.
The Thai, who after reaching the final in 1996 has yet to repeat the feat in this tournament, is seeded second after tiny Russian Tatiana Panova, ranked No 25 in the world who will play a qualifier in the first round.