Ive seen all of these girls play apart from Dianne, as usual they are all expected to loose in the first round but fingers crossed that one of them pulls a surprise out of the bag.
If Marina draws a qualifier in her first round I think she may be expected to beat her, although im hoping that Marina draws either Daniella, Natsya or Jelena so she can witness the power, accuracy etc of the best players. I honestly have no idea who Marina will play doubles with, I hope that she plays with Ellen although this has never happenned before so im not holding out much hope.
Sacha is used to versing girls around her age on the juniors tour, so there is the chance that she could get intimidated versing older senior professionals. Shes going out there to play her best, im hoping that she versus Daniella, Natsya or Jelena in the first round.
This will be the most important year in Leannes life. Ever since she left the juniors back in the 90s she has been pretty much guaranteed a wildcard here and a place in the NZ Fed Cup team - but now thats changing as the likes of Sacha and Ellen are showing some superb form in their matches. Shes performing well under pressure as at late, I hope it continues (or this may be the last time we see her in an ASB Classic Main Draw).
Ellen was on an injury break after Fed Cup and has only really been back in action for the last two months. However since her comeback shes achieved some of the best wins of her career, and even took Casey to 3 closish sets in one match. She has a very good forehand and pretty powerful serve (a typical kiwi) and earlier this year she played quite well against Sania Mirza especially in the second set where she went down 2-6 4-6. Im hoping she'll verse one of the lower ranked players in the qualifying draw and it would be nice to see her win a set.
Ive never really had much hope of Shona becoming a top 100, or even top 300 player - but she loves playing tennis and meeting heaps of new people and wishing her all the best. Cant see her winning against anyone really, im hoping that she will be a late boomer.
All ive heard about Dianne is that she had a stunning year in the USA College series, is going to be interesting to see how well she gets on
Kairangi Vano has been focusing on school this year, which is a shame because she was a good junior player and I hoped that she would play some 10k and 25k events on the senior tour this year. She won a set against Ryoka Fuda in qualies last year, seemed to burn out in the last set from what I can remember. Im hoping that she has been training hard for the last few months, on her day she could make it to the 2nd round of qualifying imo
Thank you for everything Mercedes, now please be nice to Socrates for me, perhaps fetch him a bird or two. We love you, always.