JAKARTA (JP): Sunday's draw at the US$225,000 Wismilak International tennis tournament offered the tantalizing prospect of a showdown between world number one Lindsay Davenport and India's breakthroughteenage star Sania Mirza.
The 29-year-old American number one, playing in Southeast Asia for the first time as she bids for her 49th career title in Nusa Dua, Bali, received a bye in the first round, and will play either Japanese veteran Rika Fujiwara or South African Natalie Grandin in the second.
There she could meet hard-hitting Mirza, who has blazed a trail for Indian women's tennis in the past year, winning in her hometown of Hyderabad and reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open last week, the tour organizers said in a release.
The Indian faces Russian Ekaterina Bychkova in the first round of the tournament, which began on Sunday and ends on Sept. 18.
However, last year's champion Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from the tournament to recover from a nagging shoulder injury that affected her play at the Canadian Open and the U.S. Open.
After winning the U.S. Open last year and the Wismilak title, the Russian has had a difficult year plagued by disappointing losses and injury.
Davenport is drawn to face talented attacking player Alicia Molik in the semifinals. The 24-year-old Australian ran Davenport close in the Australian Open in January but has been sidelined for much of the year by illness.
Always dangerous third seeded Patty Schnyder also received a first round bye, and will take on either a qualifier or doubles champion Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain in the next round.
Indonesian number two Wynne Prakusya, who showed superb form in the win over Puerto Rico in the Fed Cup in July, received a wildcard and will play a qualifier.
However, it won't be her Fed Cup teammate Ayu Fani Damayanti. The 16 year old lost in Sunday's qualifying to Li Ting of China 6-1, 6-4