Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Top women won't play at Amelia Island tourney

AFP , AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA

Women's tennis fans at this week's US$600,000 WTA Amelia Island tournament will have a hard time seeing their favorite top players in action.

The top six players in the WTA rankings -- a list that includes notables such as Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters -- are not entered in the tier-two claycourt event, which began on Monday.

In their absence, the top seed in the tournament is Nadia Petrova of Russia, who is ranked seventh in the world.

Petrova won in Paris earlier this year, but was unable to get past the quarter-finals last month at Indian Wells, California, and Miami, a pair of tier-one events with much deeper fields.

The top eight seeds receive first-round byes. Petrova will face Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who rallied for a 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine on Monday.

The tournament's first upset was engineered by Greece's Eleni Daniilidou, who scored a 6-0, 6-4 victory over 10th seed Marion Bartoli of France.

No. 14 Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain was knocked out of the tournament by Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.

Petrova's half of the draw also includes third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who won the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells; fifth-seeded Dina Safina of Russia; and seventh-seeded Li Na of China, who is playing some of the best tennis of her career.

Li played her way into the semi-finals at Indian Wells and the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, registering victories over Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters along the way.

She is scheduled to meet Karolina Sprem of Croatia, who handled US player Meghann Shaughnessy, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

Another big name not entered at Amelia Island is Serena Williams. However, her sister Venus is playing in the tournament as an unseeded player.

Playing in just her third event of the year, Williams was scheduled to face Aravane Rezai of France yesterday.

On Williams' side of the draw are the second-seeded Serb Jankovic and fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.

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