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crazillo
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:01 PM
Kuznetsova Boosts Pilot Pen Field

by Jim Fuller, Register Staff


Perhaps only Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament Director Anne Worcester could head out for a night of back to school shopping with her kids and come home with a commitment from the defending U.S. Open women’s champion.

Worcester, still gleeful over the surprise commitment of No. 13 Alicia Molik, received an even bigger shock when No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova placed a call to Worcester Thursday evening.

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After a bit of red tape on Friday morning and early afternoon at the WTA offices, Kuznetsova became the fifth top 10 women’s player to commit to the Pilot Pen.

Kuznetsova had been adamant in her stance of not playing the week before the U.S. Open every time Worcester made her sales pitch to the 20-year-old from St. Petersburg, Russia.

"She called and said, ‘This is Svetlana, you have been trying to get me to play for three years, well, I’m ready to play,’" Worcester said. "It has never been a consideration. It came out of left field."

Kuznetsova has struggled in recent weeks, losing early in San Diego and Los Angeles. She wants to be match tough when the time comes to defend her U.S. Open title.

Since she missed the entry deadline, she moves to second behind No. 1 Lindsay Davenport on the Pilot Pen’s "next in" list. Kuznetsova would move into the main draw if two players who gained direct acceptance into the Pilot Pen draw withdraw before the start of the tournament.

"I told Svetlana, ‘You are not going to believe this but I cannot guarantee you a wild card at this very minute but I believe you are going to move in on your own. If you don’t, I am very confident that you will be fine,’" Worcester said. "She has already called me today asking, ‘Any updates?’"

The Pilot Pen’s next-in list includes Davenport, Kuznetsova, Molik, No. 25 Tatiana Golovin and No. 26 Ai Sugiyama. With only three available wild cards, there is a chance that some of the late entries could fail to make it into the main draw.

However, Worcester figures that the law of averages will result in the Pilot Pen losing players out of the main draw in the next week.

"This year, there have been a surprising number of injuries," Worcester said. "Not key injuries but injuries that keep players from playing summer tournaments. I would imagine we would have some withdrawals from this main draw list given all of the withdrawals all summer long. My guess is that Davenport and Kuznetsova will get in on their own but obviously, if not, Lindsay is a sure thing and Kuznetsova being the defending U.S. Open champion and No. 4 in the world would also be a very likely (wild card)."

Worcester, and the WTA, is watching the health of those playing in the main draw such as Magdalena Maleeva, who recently withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Toronto, as well as marquee players like No. 2 Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Sharapova pulled out of her scheduled quarterfinal match at Los Angeles with a right pectoral muscle strain. Williams hasn’t played since Wimbledon because of an ankle injury. Both are entered in Toronto, but if they pull out and seek more matches before the U.S. Open, Worcester and her staff would gladly offer late wild cards.

One player Worcester will not have to concern herself with is No. 17 Vera Zvonareva.

Zvonareva’s agent John Tobias told the Register on Wednesday that Zvonareva would play in New Haven.

Tobias reiterated Zvonareva’s intentions when he was contacted by Worcester on Thursday. Zvonareva went as far as to reserve a hotel room in New Haven. However, on Friday morning the WTA informed Worcester that Zvonareva’s ankle injury — suffered in a doubles match in San Diego earlier this month — would not be healed in time for the start of the Pilot Pen.

Worcester believes there won’t be any movement in attracting high-profile men’s players before Thursday’s wild-card deadline until the early rounds of the upcoming tournament in Cincinnati. Worcester thinks that if a player like Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin or Tim Henman were to lose in the first round or two in Cincinnati, they would likely request a wild card.


Is that a slight way to tell us that they force lower-ranked players to withdraw to make the entries of the others possible? :rolleyes:

K-Dog
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Hopefully Venus will follw suite and play New Haven. It would be a good warm-up at a place where she has won 4 straight years in the past.

crazillo
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:08 PM
Hopefully Venus will follw suite and play New Haven. It would be a good warm-up at a place where she has won 4 straight years in the past.

Yeah, I know. That list was weak before, now it's THE event... But it would not be fair if all the lower one's who made comittemnts in time would be forced to withdraw.

Berlin_Calling
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:19 PM
more top players please cause im attending the event!

Babolatpro880
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:54 PM
Me too :) All these new players have really increased the quality of the event.

Andrew..
Aug 16th, 2005, 03:55 PM
This was already posted four days ago.

http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=185021