Tournament 21 Nov 2018

Another superstar to join ASB Classic as full field confirmed

by Rhonda Karl
Another superstar to join ASB Classic as full field confirmed

One of the biggest names in Women’s sport has been added to the all-star line up for the 2019 ASB Classic.  Wimbledon finalist and former world number five, Eugenie Bouchard will start her 2019 season in the City of Sails, announced today as part of the full field.

The Canadian is one of the highest profile sports stars in the world with her on court achievements matched by a number of blue-chip endorsements and front cover shoots of some of the world’s most read publications.

Bouchard, who burst on to the tennis scene after winning the Junior Wimbledon title in 2012, had a rapid rise up the rankings having won her first WTA title in Nurnberg and final appearances in Hobart, Kuala Lumpur, Wuhan and Osaka.  However it was on her favourite Grass Courts of the All England Club that Genie really established herself in 2014, beating two world number ones (Kerber and Halep) and four seeds on her way to reaching the final – the first for a Canadian. 

Bouchard is upbeat about her 2019 season following some strong results at the end of 2018.  She reached the quarter finals in Birmingham, Gstaad and Taipei as well as the semi-final’s in Luxembourg going down to eventual winner and defending ASB Classic Champion Julia Goerges. 

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And she’s looking forward to coming back to the ASB Classic to start her year.

“I am really excited to be coming back to Auckland.  I came there when I was very young and remember it being so beautiful.  I’ll be focussed and ready to go, but I hope to see a little more of Auckland this time around.

“I felt really strong in my last couple of tournaments and it was nice to reach a semi-final at the highest level again.  I know how to be a top ten player and I feel like I’m doing all the right things to reach my goals in 2019”.

Tournament organisers are wrapped to add some more star power to a tournament which is already featuring some global heavyweights. 

“Genie is icing on the cake of what is going to be an incredible Women’s field this year.  Three former world number one’s, three Grand Slam champions, our defending champion, the Olympic Gold Medallist and now one of the biggest names in the sport, it is going to be huge” said Tournament Director Karl Budge.
 
The announcement of Bouchard rounds out a strong Women’s Week field for the 2019 ASB Classic that includes super stars Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Julia Goerges, Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams - a line-up that’s proving to be one of the strongest in the events history.

World number three Caroline Wozniacki, the current Australian Open Champion, will be the top seed at the ASB Classic and the hot favourite in Auckland come January. The Danish star rose to number one in the WTA rankings earlier this year after her maiden Grand Slam win in Melbourne. Including the Australia Open, Wozniacki added another two more WTA titles (Eastbourne and Beijing) to her name this season increasing her overall career singles haul to 30 WTA titles.

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will be returning to the ASB Classic after her previous appearing in 2006. The former world number one is currently ranked fifty-one after taking some time off following the birth of her son Leo in December 2016.

Her resume is impressive with twenty WTA Tour Titles including her two back-to-back Australian Open Grand Slam trophies (2012,2013), another two Grand Slams in mixed doubles (2007,2008) and an Olympic gold medal for Belarus.

The legend that is Venus Williams will return after a one year hiatus from the tournament. Venus turned pro in 1994, so she’s heading into her 25th year on tour.  The 38-year-old has 23 grand slam titles and 49 WTA singles titles including the ASB Classic (2014).

ASB Classic defending champion Julia Goerges will be 2nd seed for the tournament after her career best year on tour. The powerhouse German broke inside the top ten and was named the WTA most improved player of the year. Her standout performance was at Wimbledon, where she reached her first Grand Slam semi-final before falling to 7-time Wimbledon Champ Serena Williams. 14th ranked Goerges loves the ASB Classic, she feels at home here and won’t be giving up her trophy easily.

The strength of the field is exciting for both fans and tournament organisers.

“I think this is the deepest and most exciting field we have put together.  There are genuine global superstars, players we know play incredibly well here in Auckland and some new faces that are looking to make their mark” said Budge.

"It will be a really interesting draw with the likes of Vika, Genie and Monica not having protection and could draw one of the top seeds.  It means Monday and Tuesday will see Caroline, Goerges, Venus, Vika and Genie playing across two sessions.  I am not sure we have had star power like that in one session as early as this before”.

Other notable inclusions include Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese Taipei who was a semi-finalist this year in Auckland.  After a strong start to the year Hsieh went on to capture a title in Japan and reach the semi-finals in Morocco.  Hsieh has been some what of a giant killer this season having beaten world number one Simona Halep at Wimbledon and world number three Garbine Murguruza at the Australian Open.   

Rounding out the top four is Croatian number one Petric Martic who is coming to the ASB Classic in her best form yet. One of the most consistent players on tour this year, Martic jump almost 60 spots up the rankings off the back of a year that included a final and four quarter-final appearances.

Also returning is 33rd ranked Barbora Strycova. The petit Czech has been a regular finalist in recent years at the ASB Classic and will come to Auckland with real confidence having lead the Czech team to Fed Cup victory over the USA earlier this month.

On paper, the top two seeds, Wozniacki and Goerges will be the frontrunners with their recent form, rankings and longstanding relationship with the ASB Classic puts them ahead of the pack, but it would be foolish to count out the likes of Azarenka and Williams, whilst Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig, and youngsters Sofia Kenin and Marketa Vondrousova will also pose real threats.
 
Full list of main draw players for the 2019 Women's Week:

  1. Caroline Wozniacki (3)
  2. Julia Goerges (14)
  3. Su-Wei Hsieh (28)
  4. Petra Martic (32)
  5. Barbora Strycova (33)
  6. Venus Williams (39)
  7. Kirsten Flipkens (48)
  8. Alison Van Uytvanck (50)
  9. Victoria Azarenka (51)
  10. Sofia Kenin (52)
  11. Monica Puig (53)
  12. Viktoria Kuzmova
  13. Rebecca Peterson (59)
  14. Timea Babos (60)
  15. Marketa Vondrousova (68)
  16. Johanna Larsson (77)
  17. Mona Barthel (80)
  18. Lara Arruabarrena (82)
  19. Stefanie Voegele (83)
  20. Polona Hercog (84)
  21. Tamara Zidansek (86)
  22. Sara Sorribes Tormo (87)
  23. Eugenie Bouchard (88)
  24. Madison Brengle (89)
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