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tennisIlove09
Apr 14th, 2003, 07:16 AM
Draw creates potentially difficult path for top seed
By Laurie Cason
April 13 2003
The Florida Times-Union

Without defending champion Venus Williams in the field, the 24th Bausch & Lomb Championships that begin tomorrow has the potential to offer some of the most balanced competition in tournament history.

At least that's what tournament chairman and founder Bob Arrix is hoping after seeing the completed draw for the annual clay court event at Amelia Island Plantation.

"I'm disappointed, obviously, that Venus Williams didn't come back to defend her title," Arrix said. "But the quality of tennis will be much more competitive. Justine Henin-Hardenne, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport -- we've got a pretty strong draw. It's an excellent draw considering the lack of time players have had to take time off since [Indian Wells]. This is their sixth week of competition -- that's a lot of playing time."

In fact, all of the Bausch & Lomb tournament seeds were still competing or otherwise committed during the final weekend of the Family Circle Cup event in Charleston yesterday. In their absence, No. 40-ranked Amy Frazier and wild-card entry Shenay Perry assisted with the draw that assigned players to their spots in the tournament bracket. The job is usually performed by a seeded player.

Perry, who was excited about appearing for the first time in the main draw of a WTA Tour event, anxiously glanced at each chip as it was drawn from the crystal winner's trophy as she searched for her assigned number.

"I was just hoping I wouldn't get a No. 2 seed or something," said Perry, whose number was one of the last four drawn. She will face Tathiana Garbin, ranked No. 83, in the opening round.

The draw sets up several potential mid-round matchups between seeded players. Among the potential third-round pairings are: No. 16 Alexandra Stevenson vs. No. 4 Daniela Hantuchova, No. 10 Elena Dementieva vs. No. 8 Amanda Coetzer and No. 2 Davenport vs. No. 13 Conchita Martinez.

Henin-Hardenne and Seles would meet in the quarterfinals of the top half of the bracket if both advance. The match would be the first of the tournament between any of the top six seeds. Also standing in Henin-Hardenne's path to the final is fourth-seeded Hantuchova, who would await in the semifinals. In the bottom half of the draw, Davenport and Capriati would meet in the semifinals.

In the first round, Virginia Ruano-Pascual, a clay-court specialist from Spain, faces perennial fan favorite, Mary Pierce. The winner of that match will face No. 9 seed Meghann Schaughnessy in the second round.

~RedRose~
Apr 14th, 2003, 08:16 AM
hehe at Meghanns name ;)