Russian pair bolster ASB Classic draw

Last updated 13:27 21/11/2012
Vera Zvonareva
Getty Images
AUCKLAND BOUND: Vera Zvonareva (pictured) and Svetlana Kuznetsova have joined the field for the ASB Classic.

Relevant offers

National

Brian O'Driscoll says Dan Carter key to All Blacks’ hopes of retaining World Cup Paul Gallen keen to fight Sonny Bill Williams Black Caps Kane Williamson and Adam Milne donate to Pakistani families Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx given late Halberg Awards nomination Australia's Shane Watson hit on the helmet in nets bouncer scare Lydia Ko 'can't wait' to play 2015 New Zealand Women's Open Australia's Mitchell Johnson hopes fireworks continue in Boxing Day test Cathy Freeman's famous Olympic bodysuit may have been found in Victoria EPL in review: Sunderland get back to winning ways with 1-0 win over Newcastle Greg Smith appointed New Zealand Black Ferns coach until 2017

Two former world No 2 players have bolstered the field for next year's ASB Classic.

Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova are the star additions to the draw that already includes current world No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska.

Injuries have seen both Zvonareva and Kuznetsova drop down the rankings this year to No 96 and No 72 respectively, but both have been Grand Slam finalists in recent years.

The Russian pair, who won the doubles title at this year's Australian Open, are also joined by the sixth top 30 player to be confirmed, Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.

"The tournament promises to be a great contest between the young blood of Radwanska, Goerges and Shvedova against the wise heads of Zvonareva and Kuznetsova," said tournament director Karl Budge. "And the two former champions [Wickmayer and Zheng] will keep them all honest."

Zvonareva, with 12 career titles under her belt, was ranked at No 2 in 2010 when she was a finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open. This time last year she was playing in the season-ending championships for the world's top eight players.

Despite making the third rounds at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, Zvonareva's season has been affected by injuries. The 28-year-old has a good record in Auckland being a finalist in 2006 and 2007.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner - at the US Open in 2004 and Roland Garros in 2009 - reached the semi-finals in Auckland this year. She went through to the fourth round at Roland Garros in May but struggled with a knee injury for the latter part of the year.

Defending champion and world No 26 Zheng Jie confirmed at the weekend that she will be returning. This means the top six players all come from the world top 30 - Poland's Radwanska at No 4, Germany's Julia Goerges at No 18, 2010 champion Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer at No 23, China's Zheng, Romania's Sorana Cirstea at No 27 and Shvedova at No 29.

Shvedova made headlines this year when she became the first woman in the open era to win a golden set - winning all 24 points in a single set - in the first set of her win over world No  7 Sara Errani at Wimbledon.

She went to a career high 25 in the world last month after making the French Open quarter-finals and the fourth round at Wimbledon. The former Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion has made one appearance in Auckland in 2006.

The field also features Kiwi No 1 Marina Erakovic, and up and comers Heather Watson (UK) and Christina McHale (USA), who is ranked just outside the top 30 at 33 in the world.

Ad Feedback

The tournament precedes the men's Heineken Open and runs from December 31 to January 5.

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content