5 Jan 2020

World class start to the 2020 ASB Classic

by Rhonda Karl
World class start to the 2020 ASB Classic

Superstars galore on day one of the ASB Classic with 23-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams, Danish sweetheart Caroline Wozniacki, American teen star Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff and former world No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard all taking the court.

15-year-old ‘Coco’ will get her first hit out of the year against last year’s semi-finalist Victoria Kuzmova on centre court.  The 15-year old captured the headlines in June by firstly becoming the youngest to ever qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon, then by beating tennis legend and her idol Venus Williams in the first round. Since making it to the second week of Wimbledon the teen has continued to break records becoming the youngest player to win a WTA title since 2004 and becoming the youngest player ranked in the top 100. 

It’s literally ‘double’ the action tomorrow with dream team Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki taking the court for their debut doubles appearance together. Together the duo has 102 WTA singles titles, 24 grand slam titles and spent a combined 390 weeks at number one. The superstar pair will play against Japanese pair Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya third on centre court.

To finish off day one on centre court we have one of the most marketable athletes of the planet ‘Genie’ Bouchard who takes on Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium. Canadian superstar Genie shot to stardom in 2014, reaching the semi-final of the Australian Open & Roland Garros, then the final of Wimbledon. The former world No.5 comes back to Auckland as defending doubles champion and is looking to advance further than her quart-final appearance in 2019.

Two Kiwis will be playing amongst the star’s tomorrow, youngster Valentina Ivanov and 2019 doubles finalist Paige Hourigan. Kiwi teen Ivanov will be the first of the New Zealand entourage on court, playing against Swiss Jil Teichmann. 18-year old Ivanov has just come off her first semester of College Tennis in America and comes back to Auckland with more confidence and with the crowd behind her. Kiwi No. 1 Hourigan will then take the court after receiving a wildcard into the doubles draw. Hourigan is playing with the Italian pocket rocket and former doubles world No. 1 Sara Errani whose career speaks for itself with multiple grand slam doubles titles and a world of experience to lead the way. Both Kiwis will be playing on grandstand court so everyone including ground pass holders will get the opportunity to watch them play.

Not playing tomorrow but in the mix is Kiwi doubles specialist Erin Routliffe whose received the other wildcard for doubles, she’ll partner American Allie Kiick whose coach is former doubles legend Lisa Raymond. The Routliffe Kiick pair will have their work cut out for them up against two-time defending champion Julia Goerges and 8th seed Caroline Garcia.

Clearly the doubles draw is a mixture of superstars and super teens with teenage American duo dubbed ‘McCoco’. Coco Gauff and Caty McNally have drawn second seeds Lara Arruabarrena and Renata Vorakova in their first round but aren’t scheduled to play until later in the week. They’ll be looking to continue their winning ways after capturing two WTA doubles titles last year.

 

With both Kiwis playing on grandstand court plus a host of other rising stars and more established ones including Catherine Bellis and Carla Suarez Navarro a ground pass will look more like a golden ticket!

 

Ostapenko has withdrawn due to personal reasons. She is replaced in the draw by the next player eligible to be seeded, Van Uytvanck. A Qualifier/Lucky Loser will take the spot vacated by Van Uytvanck.

 

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