Bovina Withdrawn,14 Thai-Players in Pattaya
Published on Nov 1, 2003
Twelve of the best local youngsters will parade their talent in the
qualifying round of the US$110,000 (Bt4.4 million) Volvo Womens
Open, which gets under way at the Dusit Resort Hotel in Pattaya today.
Among them are wild-card holders Chatthida Thimjapo, who represented the country in the SEA Games and who is pitted against Frenchwoman Emilie Trouche, and Lamang Thong, who has a tough task against eighth-seeded Sandra Klemenschits of Austria.
The late withdrawals of a few foreign players, who are still playing in tournaments in the United States, helped the locals to get into the qualifying draw.
Teenager and rising star Nudnida Luangnam and former national star Orawan Wongkamalasai face the toughest hurdles.
Nudnidas first round opponent is world No-227 and third-seeded Elise Tamaela of the Netherlands, while Orawan takes on world No-244 and fourth-seeded Tina Schiechtl of Australia.
However, one thing is sure. At least three Thais will be in the second round due to three all-Thai first-round match-ups. Pichittra Thongdach will play Penporn Chantawannop, up-and-coming Prim Buaklee will take on Punchanok Khunpitak and Marissa Niroj will meet Chulalak Phocharoen.
The top two seeds Anastassia Rodionova, No-167, of Russia and Yuliana Fedak of Ukraine, No-215 received first-round byes.
The main draw for the singles will be held tomorrow. World No-21 Elena Bovina of Russia had already withdrawn from the tournament, which means World No-31 Tina Pisnik of Slovakia and crowd favourite Tamarine Tanasugarn, No-33 on the WTA, will be seeded first and second.
Defending champion Angelique Widjaja of Indonesia, 1996 champion Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia and 1997 French Open champion Iva Majoli will also participate in the tournament.
But the centre of attraction will be the Russian glamour girl Anna Kournikova, who is committed to doing a promotional video on Pattayas tourist sites besides playing an exhibition match with Tamarine over the weekend.
The former world No-8, who has been sidelined with injuries, is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday night.
It is reported that many hotels in the beach city have been fully booked by fans who want to see Kournikova in the flesh.