Photo: Susan MullaneEugenie Bouchard (CAN)
PHOENIX, AZ, USA: The second $75,000 tournament in America on the ITF Pro Circuit 2012 calendar will see some top ranked women players descend upon Arizona’s largest and capital city in early November.
This will be the third straight year that this tournament has offered $75,000 in prize money and the singles main draw is set to feature three of the current Junior Grand Slam champions.
A direct acceptance into the main draw is Canadian 18-year-old Eugenie Bouchard the current Junior Wimbledon champion and who currently holds a WTA singles ranking of 160 which is a new career high.
Bouchard, the highest ranked of the three Junior Grand Slam champions, is likely to be among the major threats to the likely seeded players ranked in and around the 100 mark but if she does find herself struggling then she could always distract her opponents with a spot of impromptu Gangnam Style dancing!
The Canadian is joined by American wild card entrants Samantha Crawford, 17, who holds the US Open title and Taylor Townsend, 16, who took home the Australian Open title. Only Germany’s Annika Beck who won in Paris is missing to complete a full house of 2012 Junior Grand Slam champions.
Of the more established pros, 2011 singles champion Sesil Karatantcheva from Kazakhstan will be returning to defend her title to emulate Varvara Lepchenko’s successful defence of her 2009 title. Lepchenko’s 2009 triumph still rates as one of the most memorable due to her run of five back-to-back set wins of 60 which began in the deciding third set of her quarterfinal match.
Leading the list of 2012 entries is Italian 20-year-old Camila Giorgi, one of three players ranked inside the WTA’s top 100 as of the tournament's entry deadline date. The young Italian, who qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon before going on an impressive run to the fourth round, will be making only her second appearance on the ITF Pro Circuit since mid-June 2012.
Also in the main draw will be Croatia’s former Australian Open doubles champ and Wimbledon singles semifinalist Mirjana Lucic. Lucic who reached a career high of 32 in the WTA singles rankings is sure to be another in contention for the title.
Leading the American assault on the title is 21-year-old Melanie Oudin who in 2009 enjoyed a good run at the US Open where she reached the quarterfinal and in April 2010 was ranked as high as 31. A high ranking but this is bettered by Russia’s Elena Bovina who, five years earlier, was ranked at 14. The 29-year old will be another to keep an eye on in Phoenix.
Maria Sanchez, 22, was the champion at the first American $75,000 tournament of 2012. The 22-year old American player triumphed at the tournament which was held in Albuquerque, NM during September and will be looking to make it a clean sweep by adding the Phoenix title.
When the action kicks off on Tuesday 6 November at the Phoenix Country Club you can keep up with the results of the day by checking back to the tournament page after close of play each day.
If you are among those fortunate enough to be in attendance then feel free to share your photos with us and other tennis fans on our official Facebook page or on Twitter using the hash tag #ITFprocircuit and remember to include names of those who feature in any photos.
Previous Phoenix winners (since becoming a regular fixture on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2008)
2008 - $25,000
(1) Anastasia Yakimova (BLR) 36 62 10 RET (2) Patricia Mayr (AUT)
2009 - $50,000
(2) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 60 60 Sacha Jones (NZL)
2010 - $75,000
(2) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 63 76(5) (1) Melanie Oudin (USA)
2011 - $75,000
Sesil Karatantcheva (KAZ) 61 75 Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR)