The US$220,000 PTT Pattaya Open has attracted many of Asia’s leading tennis stars, including Zheng Jie, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Peng Shuai and Ayumi Morita. The tournament, which is being held at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel from 6–13 February, is celebrating 20 years on the WTA Tour, making it one of Asia’s longest running tennis events.
Zheng Jie, who is the highest ranked Asian player in the field, has been sidelined with injury since the latter part of 2010. She also withdrew from the Australian Open where she reached the semi-final last year. Pattaya will be her first match back after injury and she will be looking to recapture the form of early 2010.
Kimiko Date-Krumm, who at 40 is the oldest player on the WTA Tour had a strong finish to the 2010 season, she reached the quarter-final in Seoul, before losing to Tamarine in the final in Osaka and then in the season ending Tournament of Champions in Bali she made it through to the final before losing to Ana Ivanovic. Accompanying her in the main draw is Japanese No 2, Ayumi Morita who has always performed well in Asia, and her best result in 2010 was a semi-final finish in Kuala Lumpur.
China is also well represented in the main draw, with Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai joining Zheng Jie. Peng Shuai is one of the most consistent Asian players on the tour and finished 2010 in the top 100 for the seventh consecutive season, whilst Zhang Shuai finished in the top 100 for the first time; her best performance was a semi-final spot in Guangzhou.
Other Asian players who have entered the tournament include India’s Sania Mirza, and Taiwan’s Chan Yung-Jan and Chang Kai-Chen.
Noppawan and Nicha get wild cards
The Organising Committee of the PTT Pattaya Open, after consultation with the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand, has awarded wild cards to two of Thailand’s rising tennis stars, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Nicha Lertpitaksinchai into the main draw of the event.
The two young stars, who are members of the Thailand Fed Cup team, will be joining Tamarine Tanasugarn in the main draw of the event. They earned their selection as a result of their performances during the 2010 season.
Noppawan has risen to a career-high ranking of 181 in the world, due to some good results on the ITF Challenger circuit, where her best results were winning an event in Tsukuba, Japan and finishing runner-up at another event in Cairns, Australia. She also made it through qualifying earlier this month at the WTA event in Auckland, New Zealand.
Likewise Nicha is also sitting on a career high ranking of 425, she too has been active on the ITF Challenger circuit cumulating in winning the tournament in Bangalore, India, where she started out as a qualifier and went all the way through to the final without dropping a set.
Both girls performed well in Pattaya last year, Noppawan losing a tight three set match to Chanelle Scheepers in the opening round, whilst Nicha made it to the final round of qualifying before having to retire with a leg injury.
Depending on the draw, which will be made on Sunday 6 February, the Thai pair may be faced with a tough test against some of the world’s best players, such as Vera Zvonareva, Ana Ivanovic, Daniela Hantuchova or Maria Kirilenko.
Qualifying for the PTT Pattaya Open will be held on 6–7 February, with the main draw running from 7–13 February. Main draw matches will start from 15.00 daily.
Tickets for the tournament are priced at 300 baht for qualifying. 300, 500 and 800 baht for the early rounds of the main draw from Monday 7 February – Friday 11 February and at 300, 500, 800 and 1,200 baht for finals weekend on Saturday 12 February and Sunday 13 February.
For ticket bookings, please contact Pentangle Promotions Co., Ltd: Tel 02-311-3414-5 Fax: 02-311-3498 or check the official website at: www.pentanglepromotions.com or through ThaiTicketMajor Co., Ltd on 02-262-3456 or via website: www.thaiticketmajor.com.