3 Jan 2020

Kiwi upgraded to main draw

by Rhonda Karl
Kiwi upgraded to main draw

18-year old Valentina Ivanov’s wildcard has been upgraded to the main draw; the young Kiwi will now wait another two more days before she hits the court with the world’s best.

In her debut appearance at the ASB Classic last year Ivanov beat fellow Kiwi Paige Hourigan in the first round before going down to Bibiane Schoofs from the Netherlands. Later in 2019, the talented teen impressed in her first season of College tennis in America compiling a 12-4 singles record to see her ranked no. 20 on the Oracle ITA poll. Now, both Ivanov and Kiwi No. 1 Paige Hourigan will fly the NZ flag in the main draw.

Ivanov’s qualifying wildcard will be given to former world No. 5 Sara Errani. The petit Italian is ranked just inside the top 200 but has been a fierce competitor at the very top of both singles and doubles throughout her career. No doubt the multi grand slam doubles champion will cause some headaches for her opponents in the first tournament of the year.

The other change to the qualifying draw is the withdraw of Bethanie Mattek-Sands due to a slight calf strain. Mattek-Sands wild card has now been given to Canadian Leylah Fernandez in a similar arrangement to that of Tennis Australia allowing access to one of our New Zealand players to an ITF $80,000 tournament in Canada.  Fernandez will be interesting to watch given she’s coached by Sylvain Bruneau who is Bianca Andreescu’s coach.

Erin Routliffe will be the Kiwi in action tomorrow as she aims to win her first singles match at the ASB Classic. The 24-year old has drawn one of the toughest opponents in the draw, former world No. 5 Sara Errani with the whole crowd behind her who knows what could happen.  Also taking centre court tomorrow is former world No 10 Coco Vandeweghe against Caroline Dolehide and the 2010 ASB Classic Champion Yanina Wickmayer against Nao Hibino. Both are world class players who are eager to make a winning start to their season.

If that wasn’t enough to water the taste buds, all our stars are now in town and will be practising onsite throughout the weekend, with Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Amanda Anisimova, Genie Bouchard and more scheduled to take to the training court.

Public are invited to come along and watch the stars along with all qualifying matches this Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 10am and tickets are available on the gate at $14 for children and $19 for adults. Tickets are limited so fans are encouraged to turn up early!