WTA draw holds no favours for Dellacqua - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

WTA draw holds no favours for Dellacqua

By Laine Clark 28/12/2007 09:36:23 PM Comments (0)

Australian No.4 Casey Dellacqua may have received a wildcard for the Australian Women's Hardcourts on the Gold Coast but she was given no favours when the main draw was announced.

The West Australian was drawn to face none other than top seed and world No.12 Nicole Vaidisova in the first round of the $205,000 WTA tournament starting at Royal Pines resort on Sunday.

World No.86 Dellacqua will be hoping home support counts for something against Vaidisova.

The 18-year-old has forged a reputation as a future grand slam champion with 2007 wins against three top-10 players - France's Amelie Mauresmo, Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Russian Elena Dementieva.

Former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Mauresmo was named sixth seed for the Gold Coast tournament and drawn against a qualifier.

Mauresmo's low seeding indicates the class field the likes of Dellacqua will confront at the Gold Coast tournament.

While no top 10 players have entered, eight women ranked between 11 and 20 will play the first WTA tournament of 2008.

"It's tough for the Australian girls, it's a different level," tournament director Liz Smylie said when asked who was Australia's best hope at the event.

"But that's one of the great things about these tournaments - it gives our girls a great opportunity to see how they match against some of the best in the world."

Just two other Australians are in the main draw so far - Slovakian-born Jarmila Gajdosova and the woman she beat in the wildcard playoff final, Sydney-sider Monique Adamczak.

Gajdosova was drawn to meet defending champion Dinara Safina - seeded third - in the first round.

Eight Australians started the first round of qualifiers - and only Victorian Christina Wheeler emerged victorious, beating Italy's Alberta Brianti 7-6 6-2.

Wheeler takes on Chinese Taipei's Yung-Jan Chan in the second round.

Australia's three top ranked players will not be at the Gold Coast - Alicia Molik is at the Hopman Cup, Nicole Pratt opted for an Auckland tournament and Sam Stosur is recovering from viral meningitis.

While the top seed went to Vaidisova, Smylie believed Hungarian teenager Agnes Szavay loomed as a big threat not only at the Gold Coast but also the 2008 grand slams.

The 19-year-old - seeded eighth - was drawn to face Ukrainian Julia Vakulenko in the first round, the woman she downed in the US Open fourth round in September this year to become her country's first-ever quarter-finalist at the tournament.

2005 junior French Open champion Szavay started 2007 ranked 207th after being flattened by a virus but finished the year at No.20.

"She's had a phenomenal year, she is going to go on to great things," Smylie said.

It will be the last time the tournament is played on the Gold Coast.

In 2009 it will be combined with the Australian Men's Hardcourt tournament and moved to a new tennis centre being built in Brisbane.

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