PTT Pattaya Open 2011 gets underway at Dusit Thani Pattaya

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Finals to be played this weekend

This year’s PTT Pattaya Open officially began following a press conference held last Sunday, 6 February 2011 at the Napalai Convention Hall of Dusit Thani Pattaya.  The event was attended by all the sponsors and the participating tennis stars such as the tournament’s number one seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia, number 2 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and number 3 seed Maria Kirilenko, also from Russia.

Zvonareva is looking to achieve a hat trick and sources say that she will face stiff competition from past French Open winner Ana Ivanovic who has recently seen a return to form and climbed up from rank no. 65 to the top 20.  Demonstrating the increasing status of this tournament on the WTA tour, this year’s field also includes top players such as Maria Kirilenko, Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova and China’s Jie Zheng.  This year’s total prize money amounts to US$220,000.

The star players of the 2011 PTT Pattaya Open are seen on stage with the tournament sponsors after the conclusion of Sunday’s press conference held at the Dusit Thani Pattaya. The star players of the 2011 PTT Pattaya Open are seen on stage with the tournament sponsors after the conclusion of Sunday’s press conference held at the Dusit Thani Pattaya.

Part of the highlights during the press conference was the drawing of the singles event and the handing of the symbolic key to Pattaya City to the defending champion, Vera Zvonareva.  In her speech, she thanked all the sponsors and added that Pattaya was the best destination and she had been coming to this resort city for many years now.

The weeklong event from 6-13 February has been voted as Tournament of the Year for 2010 by the WTA tour players who cited reasons such as the unique experience they had in the resort city of Pattaya and the relaxed atmosphere as well as the warm hospitality from Dusit Thani Pattaya, the tournament’s host hotel for 20 years now.

This year, the event program has given the players another unique opportunity to explore the destination’s attractions with a boat trip to the nearby Coral Island also known as Koh Larn and other places.  Aside from the boat adventure, the participating players from across the globe have participated in the coral planting at the resort’s beachfront and spent time with kids whose sports interests include tennis.

In the first round matches earlier on Monday, Maria Kirilenko beat Alberta Brianti of Italy in three sets, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Veteran American Jill Craybas also progressed with victory over former top-ranked junior Noppawan Lertcheewakarn.  The 36-year-old Craybas, ranked 97th, won 6-3, 6-3 after a string of unforced errors from Lertcheewakarn.

Lertcheewakarn, 19, the 2009 junior Wimbledon champion, said she was “tired and not ready to play” after representing Thailand in the Fed Cup.

Come tournament finals on Sunday 13 February, the stadium of Dusit Thani Pattaya will once again be filled with tennis fans that will be supporting their favourite players.  The PTT Pattaya Open has continued to hold its reputation of bringing in international athletes to the resort city thereby giving it the recognition as a great destination for world sport tournaments.

Note:  Advance and same day ticket purchases can be made at the venue daily from 10.00 a.m.. The ticket booth is located adjacent to the main grandstand.

China’s Jie Zheng returns the ball during her opening match. China’s Jie Zheng returns the ball during her opening match.

No. 2 seed Ana Ivanovic got off to a good start in her opening match against Thailand’s Nudnida Luangnam. No. 2 seed Ana Ivanovic got off to a good start in her opening match against Thailand’s Nudnida Luangnam.

Tanaporn Thongsing of Thailand serves during her qualifying match against Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay on Sunday. Tanaporn Thongsing of Thailand serves during her qualifying match against Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay on Sunday.