Amelia Island, Fla. - For the next two months, the stars of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will take their games to the clay courts - beginning this week at the Bausch & Lomb Championships.
Like most seasons, Amelia Island, Florida kicks off the clay court season with a spectacular field that includes world No.1 and defending champion Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Anastasia Myskina, Alicia Molik and 2002 Amelia Island winner Venus Williams.
Davenport, the top seed this year, returns to Amelia Island for the ninth time as a two-time winner of this event. The American first captured the Bausch & Lomb title in 1997, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. She returned to the championship match in 2003, but fell to Elena Dementieva in three sets.
Last year, Davenport defeated Amelie Mauresmo in straight sets to become the seventh player to win multiple titles at Amelia Island. After a first round bye, Davenport will begin this year's event against either Maria Elena Camerin or a qualifier in the second round.
Serena Williams will be the No.2 seed in her second straight trip to the northern Florida tournament. Williams reached the quarterfinals at last year's event, falling to Nadia Petrova.
The Australian Open winner will face either Marta Marrero or Dally Randriantefy in her first match of the week.
No.3 seed Myskina returns to Amelia Island for the first time since 2002 and should see either wild card Shahar Peer or Samantha Stosur in the second round, while No.4 seed Molik will play at Amelia Island for the third time in the last four year. She will take on either Virginie Razzano or Emilie Loit in her first match.
Former champ Venus Williams, a semifinalist last week at Miami, will be the No.5 seed this year at Amelia Island. She will face either Martina Sucha or Maria Vento-Kabchi in the second round and could face No.1 Davenport in the quarterfinals.
Other top seeds participating this week at Amelia Island are No.6 Vera Zvonareva, No.7 Petrova and No.8 Patty Schnyder.
This is the 26th year the Bausch & Lomb has been a fixture during the clay court season on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Tennis great Martina Navratilova was the tournament's very first champion in 1980. Since then, Chris Evert, Zina Garrison Jackson, Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles and Amelie Mauresmo are among some of the other winner's at this Florida event.