Clare Valley, SA, Australia, 24 February 2015 | David Packman
With 11 of the world’s top 400 players in action and a total of 11 countries represented, the inaugural 2015 Clare Valley Tennis International is showcasing the breadth of emerging talent in the world of women’s tennis.
Five Chinese and five Japanese women will line-up alongside players from Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Thailand and USA – with the top two seeds both hailing from Korea.
Led by fifth seed Jessica Moore, 12 Australians – including five qualifiers – will also be in action.
Moore – currently ranked world No.313 – begins her campaign against Frenchwoman Sherazad Reix with a potential match-up against top seed Su Jeong Jang in the quarterfinals. The resurgent 24-year-old from Western Australia is feeling confident and will be looking to go deep in the tournament this week.
“I feel like I’m playing some really good tennis, improving in lots of areas,” Moore said. “I think (Clare Valley) is the best place for me to be at the moment.”
The ACT’s Alison Bai will also be taking a degree of confidence into the tournament after a recent run to the quarterfinals of the $50,000 ITF Futures event in Burnie.
She has a first-up assignment against seventh-seeded Austrian Pai Konig, and should she be successful in staging an upset, will face the winner of Japanese qualifier Nozomi Fujioka and Australian wildcard Sally Peers.
Of the other Australians, 16-year-old Priscilla Hon has played well to qualify and now faces countrywoman Tammi Patterson for a possible second-round hit-out against the top seed in Jang, who won her maiden ITF Futures title in South Australia last year and will be looking to repeat her efforts on successful soil.
Slovak Zuzana Zlochova, 25, comes into Clare Valley as the experienced hand with a real opportunity to add to her 12 ITF Futures singles titles. Immediately standing in the third seed’s way is West Australian qualifier Karis Ryan.
Thailand’s Noppawan Lertcheewakarn also looms as a danger. In the opening round, the fourth seed faces the only American in the draw, qualifier Jennifer Elie, before finding herself amongst a slew of Aussie qualifiers and wildcards.
She may have onlookers against her this week, but should the 23-year-old remain undaunted and get past either Lizette Cabrera or Zoe Hives, a potential quarterfinal against the sixth seed – Pole Sandra Zaniewska – awaits.
The opening round begins on Tuesday at the Clare Tennis Club in Clare Valley, South Australia.