Jones heads Adelaide play-off
Alun Jones will head the field in an eight-player wildcard play-off at the Next Generation Adelaide International.
In the all-Australian contest, South Australian Colin Ebelthite will carry the local hopes, while young stars Greg Jones and Samuel Groth will also be ones to watch.
Alun Jones collected four titles from five finals in 2007, his most recent coming in Tasmania earlier this month.
Ebelthite jumped almost 400 ranking places this year in a season that included one title on the Futures circuit, two other finals and a semifinal appearance at the Dublin Challenger.
Greg Jones is coming off his best year to date, which was highlighted by a runner-up finish in the French Open juniors. Groth halved his ranking in 2007, reaching the semifinals or better at three events in Australia late this year.
Next Generation Adelaide International tournament co-director Peter Johnston said it would be a tight contest.
“We have a great field which includes most of Australia’s best up-and-coming players,” Johnston said. “All of these guys played in the Australian Open play-off and have plenty of matches under their belts.
“A wildcard into the main draw is such a great opportunity and they are going to be hungry to win. We’re expecting some very close and exciting matches.”
Queenslander Robert Smeets, who has been awarded a wildcard into the Australian Open main draw, will be the event’s second seed. The 22-year-old won five titles en route to a career-best season and is now ranked No.150 in the world.
The red-hot Joseph Sirianni will be one of the toughest to beat after he claimed the Australian Open play-off in Melbourne last week. The 32-year-old reached a career-high ranking earlier this month on the back of Challenger wins in Brisbane and Caloundra.
New South Welshmen Nick Lindahl and Adam Feeney round out the field.
The winner of the play-off will be awarded a wildcard into the main draw of the Next Generation Adelaide International. The play-off will run from December 27-28 on the new Plexicushion surface at Memorial Drive. Play begins at 10am on Thursday.
In the meantime the Next Generation Adelaide International will be on more TV screens than ever before. Host broadcasters Channel Seven will cover the semifinals and final live, while the action will also be shown live in Russia and Romania. International cable stations will beam the final two days to countries all over the world including the US, China, France, Spain, Brazil, India, France, Thailand, Poland and Ukraine. The tournament is set to reach a potential 100 million subscribers in the 12 countries.
Wildcard play-off list:
Alun Jones (ACT) 131
Robert Smeets (QLD) 150
Joseph Sirianni (VIC) 195
Nick Lindahl (NSW) 250
Colin Ebelthite (SA) 310
Adam Feeney (NSW) 315
Sam Groth (VIC) 342
Greg Jones (NSW) 385