Photo: Nir KeidarArantxa Rus (NED)
OSPREY, FL, USA: Dutch 22-year-old, Arantxa Rus, will be back in Sarasota County to defend her 2012 singles title when the $50,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournamnet gets underway next week (wc 25 March 2013).
This tournament has attracted entries from an incredible 17 players who all ranked within the WTA’s Top 100 as of the entry deadline date of 8 March. A further five players ranked between 103 and 113 make up the singles main draw along with Katerina Siniakova, of the Czech Republic, who takes her place in the draw as a Junior Exempt entrant.
The 16-year old finished 2012 as the No. 2 ranked junior player and claimed her first ITF Pro Circuit singles title earlier this month to add to a doubles title won in June last year in what was her first tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit. Siniakova has also just this week (wc 18 March 2013) made her debut on the WTA Tour in Miami where she came through qualifying before going down in three sets in the opening round of the main event.
Homegrown hopes rest on the shoulders of 2009 US Open singles quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin and Vania King, a two time doubles Grand Slam champion in 2010, the only two Americans in a European dominated main draw, and both will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Hamilton, the last, and to date only, American to triumph in this tournament. Hamilton claimed the title in 2010 when Osprey was hosting for the second time.
Osprey is now into a fifth consecutive year of staging a tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit and for the second year running will see the prize money on offer at $50,000, the first three tournaments held between 2009 and 2011 had offered prize money of $25,000.
Leading the list of entrants is Lucie Hradecka, a former WTA Top 50 ranked player with 18 singles titles and an amazing 45 doubles titles including a 2011 Grand Slam win at Roland Garros. Hradecka also enjoyed a good run in Grand Slam doubles play last year where she was a beaten semifinalist at the Australian Open and Roland Garros before twice finishing a runner-up, at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
2009 - Sharon Fichman (CAN)
2010 - Jamie Hamilton (USA)
2011 - Claire De Gubernatis (FRA)
2012 - Arantxa Rus (NED)
2013 - ????
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