Draw made for Women's Soweto Open

26 April 2013

Twenty countries will be represented in the main draw of the Women's Soweto Open, which was announced on Thursday. The tournament will be played at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Soweto from 6 to 11 May.

Chanel Simmonds, the only South African to make the direct acceptance list, is the third highest ranked player in the draw and is the country's second highest ranked professional after Chani Scheepers.

Simmonds was one of South Africa's top junior players and, since turning professional two years ago, the 20-year-old has impressed on the World Tour. She is also a member of the South African Fed Cup team.

'Very happy'

"I'm very happy to be coming back to South Africa and playing at home," Simmonds said in a statement. "We don't often get the chance to play at home in front of our family and friends, so I hope to do well and take advantage of being a home town girl."

Heading the player list is world number 114, Timea Babos of Hungary. The 20- year-old was ranked as high as 59th in the world in 2012.

Last year, Babos claimed her only singles title in Monterey, Mexico. En route to victory, she upset former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic. Babos also has three doubles titles to her name.

The 19-year-old Hungarian has earned over R4-million since turning professional in 2009.

Twenty-two-year-old Tadeja Majeric of Slovenia is another young player on the rise. She is ranked 163rd world and has this year already won a title in Innisbrook, finished runner-up in Port St Lucie, also in Florida, and made the semi-finals in Muzaffarnagar, India.

Star of the future

An exciting addition to the draw is 17-year-old Anett Kontaveit of Estonia. She is ranked 379th in the world and is regarded by many as a star of the future.

She reached the semi-finals of the Junior Australian Open in January and last year was a finalist at the Junior US Open. She also made it to the semi-finals of the junior grand slams of Wimbledon and the French Open. Kontaveit is hoping to use the Soweto Open as her springboard into the senior rankings.

A total prize purse of R500 000 is up for grabs.

The 24 direct acceptances will be joined by four qualifiers and four wildcards, to be announced next week.

DIRECT ACCEPTANCES

Timea Babos (Hun), Tadeja Majeric (Slo), Chanel Simmonds (RSA), Nadiya Kichenok (Ukr), Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukr), Elitsa Kostova (Bul), Magda Linette (Pol), Samantha Murray (GBR), Ons Jabeur (Tun), Zuzana Zlochova (Svk), Aleksandrina Naydenova (Bul), Basak Eraydin (Tur), Jovana Jaksic (Srb), Pemra Ozgen (Tur), Nicole Rottmann (Aut), Margarita Lazareva (Rus), Teodora Mircic (Srb), Melis Sezer (Tur), Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo), Anett Kontaveit (Est), Emily Webley-Smith (GBR), Jade Windley (GBR), Justyna Jegiolka (Pol), Nicole Melichar (USA)

SAinfo reporter

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Chanel Simmonds is the third highest ranked player in the Soweto Open draw and South Africa's second highest ranked player (Photo: Mario van De Waal)

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