Kerrytown's Emily Fanning will be one of the favourites in a wide open women's field confirmed for the New Zealand Tennis Championships starting on December 19 at Albany Tennis Park, Auckland.
Dianne Hollands, playing her first residential championship since last winning the event in 2008, and top junior Emily Fanning are the only two with WTA rankings.
Another player to watch for is Emma Hayman, a graduate of the College of Charleston, South Carolina.
Hayman and Fanning are also expected to compete in the final of the Auckland tennis champs.
Another contender, Paige Hourigan, 15, is improving with every outing.
Returning from scholarships in the United States are Abigail Guthrie, Imogen Golder, Heidi Stewart and Davina Meza, who are all outside chances for the title.
In the men's draw, three Davis Cup squad members and several players returning from scholarships are in the field.
New Zealand No 2 and 2005 champion Dan King-Turner, who is ranked 375 in the world, will be the top seed, followed by Michael Venus, ranked 512.
Artem Sitak, a winner of a Futures singles title in Cambodia last month, is the third seed. Sebastian Lavie, Ben Mclachlan and Finn Tearney all have ATP ranking points and are the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds.
The tournament has $5000 in prizemoney and wildcards into the qualifying draws of the ASB Classic and Heineken Open.
The championships will be preceded by the national junior championships from December 13-18. Likely seeded players include Whanganui's Kyle Butters and South Canterbury's Elliot Darling in the boys, and Fanning and Hourigan in the girls singles.
- The Timaru Herald