2012 ASB Classic preview
One of the strongest fields in ASB Classic history will contest the 2012 tournament, with the top eight seeds all ranked within the top 30 players in the world.
The top seed is German Sabine Lisicki, who played as a qualifier in the 2011 tournament before having a career best year in 2011. Sabine won two titles and made the semifinals at Wimbledon, helping her be named the WTA's Comeback Player of the Year. Lisicki faces French wildcard Virginie Razzano in the first round.
Peng Shuai of China is the second seed, and the returning semifinalist had a strong and consistent 2011 season which saw her end the year ranked #17. She will start against a qualifier.
Third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam winner and returns to Auckland after losing a three-set battle with Peng in the second round in 2011. The Russian plays a qualifer in the first round.
Italian Flavia Pennetta rounds out the top four seeds. The 2010 runner-up had some big wins in the second half of 2011, taking out Maria Sharapova at the US Open and WTA #1 Caroline Wozniacki at the China Open. Pennetta opens against Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
The remaining top seeds are German Julia Goerges, who reached the semifinals last year; Italian Roberta Vinci, who won three titles in 2011; 2010 winner and 2011 runner-up Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium; and Romanian Monica Niculescu. Georges faces defending champion Greta Arn of Hungary and Vinci plays Canadian Rebecca Marino. Wickmayer and Niculescu open against qualifiers.
The rest of the field include upcoming American Christina McHale, US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber; Aussie and former top 5 player Jelena Dokic, 2009 runner-up Elena Vesnina and Kiwi #1 Marina Erakovic.