Daniilidou seeks third Classic title
Serve and volley specialist Eleni Daniilidou launches Her 2005 assault on Monday when She opens Her campaign for a third straight ASB Classic title in Auckland.
The 22-year-old Greek has made it her New Year resolution to break into the world's top 10 after previously being as high as 14 in 2003.
She was promoted to third seed for the ASB Classic last week following the withdrawal of Mary Pierce.
But while Amy Frazier and Jelena Jankovic are the top two seeds, Daniilidou has the advantage of being a proven high-performer at the start of the season, having won in Auckland for the past two years in her warm-up tournament before the Australian Open.
"The Australian Open is just around the corner and I need a good performance there if I am to lift my ranking," said Daniilidou, who reached the fourth round in Melbourne in 2003 before falling to eventual winner Serena Williams.
She was knocked out in the third round last year by Italian Mara Santangelo, who she meets in her opening match here.
"So it should be a tough match," Daniilidou said. "She is a serve and volley player like me and uses her back hand slice a lot to get to the net."
Frazier, with seven career titles to her credit in 15 years as a professional, comes into the tournament off the back of her best year since 2000, slashing her world ranking from 60 to 26.
But the 32-year-old American is not talking up her chances.
"It's the first tournament back after a bit of a break," she said.
"I'm fresh and rested, but it always takes time to get back into the swing of things. (Daniilidou) isn't the only threat. It's a pretty good field so anything can happen."
She has drawn fellow American and close friend Laura Granville, the tournament's 15th seed, in the opening round.
Just said the weather should play ball !