Impressive field for qualifiers
Dubai | By A Sports Reporter | 14/02/2003
Uzbekistan's Iroda Tulyaganova, Zimbabwe's Cara Black, Indonesia's Angelique Widjaja and Germany's Barbara Rittner will be among the top stars contesting for the four qualifying slots open at this year's Dubai Duty Free Women's Open at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
The qualifying matches for an entry into the main draw of the tournament will be held from tomorrow morning. The qualifiers will last through till Monday morning, just before the start of the main tournament on centre court at 2pm.
The main tournament has attracted a very competitive field this year with five of the top 10 confirming their presence.
Among these are Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Monica Seles and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo. Some of the main players for this tournament are expected to start arriving from tonight. A majority of the players, however, will arrive on Sunday.
The tournament's popularity has been so much that nine of the players vying in the qualifiers for a possible slot in the main draws are among the top 70 on the WTA rankings.
Leading the march during the qualifiers will be Iroda Tulyaganova, who has been among the more attractive players on the Sanex WTA Tour. With three titles to her credit so far, the 57-ranked Tulyaganova also holds the record of being the first woman winner from Uzbekistan.
Black, a specialist doubles player with eight titles to her credit, is yet to clinch a singles crown. Of her eight doubles titles, seven itself came in 2001, thus showing her increased presence on the circuit which has given her the 55th ranking on the Tour.
Joining them will be another doubles specialist, Barbara Rittner of Germany. Rittner holds a distinct record after winning the doubles titles both the times at the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored tournament.
Ranked 65th on the Tour, the 30-year-old last won a singles title when she claimed the Antwerp Open crown in 2001.
Yet another familiar name to join these top players at the qualifying will be Indonesia's Angelique Widjaja, who has steadily climbed up the rankings to her present 68. Widjaja is a familiar face in Dubai having won the Al Habtoor Challenge last year.
Other familiar faces to take centre-stage at this year's qualifiers will be Emmanuelle Gagliardi, Henrieta Nagyova, Martina Sucha, Tatiana Poutchek and Camille Pin, among others in the 28-player line-up. The full qualifying draw will be for 32 players, of which four will be given wild cards.
© Al Nisr Publishing LLC - Gulf News Online