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Del Potro and Ferrer book Auckland

Nov 5, 2008

Two of the world's top 12 ranked tennis players have signed up for Auckland's Heineken Tennis Open in January.

The biggest mover on the ATP tour this year, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro and former winner Spaniard David Ferrer have been confirmed at the tournament launch this on Wednesday afternoon.

Twenty-year-old Argentinean Juan Martin Del Potro the current world No.8 will head the field for the January 12-17 tournament and will bring with him one of the best records of the year.

An exceptional 2008 including a winning streak of 23 matches in a row beginning with his first career title at Stuttgart (beating Richard Gasquet in the final). Kitzbuhel (defeated Jurgen Melzer for the title).

He followed that with two more back-to-back titles at Los Angeles accounting for Andy Roddick and Washington (beating Viktor Troicki) before the run of four in a row came to an end at the US Open quarter-finals with a loss to Andy Murray.

The 1.98m tall right-hander with a big serve and big groundstrokes now has a total of four singles titles to his credit. He was also a finalist at Tokyo (lost to Tomas Berdych) and reached the semis at Hertogenbosh and Basel along with three quarter-finals - Munich, US Open and the ATP Masters Series at Madrid.

Additionally Del Potro has helped his country to the Davis Cup final against Spain later this month. In the semifinals he won his two singles matches against Russia beating Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev.

His late year consistency has earned him a placed in the elite top-eight year-end Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai next week.

"Del Potro is an undeniable talent and to have had the run he managed prior to the US Open is phenomenal for someone who at the time was still a teenager. He has a real presence on court and is a rising star," says Heineken Open tournament director Richard Palmer.

He comes from the same hometown, Tanil as ATP pros Mariano Zabaleta, Juan Monaco, Diego Junquiera and Maximo Gonzalez.

His father, Daniel, played top level rugby in Argentina, while his younger sister, Julieta benefitted from Juan Martin's first ATP title win when he gifted her the CLK Mercedes-Benz from his Stuttgart win.

In 2006 Del Potro was the youngest player to finish in the top-100 that year at an age of 18-years-two months. In 2007 he was the youngest player in the top-50 (19-years-two months).

He has played at the Heineken Open on one previous occasion losing in the first round as a 18-year-old, but is clearly a player on the way up and is constantly improving his game as is shown by his current top-10 ranking which he first reached this week.

After a topsy-turvy year Ferrer, the 2007 Heineken Open winner, narrowly missed out on a Tennis Masters Cup position but still had an amazing year after he won on clay at his home event, Valencia (beating Nicolas Almagro in the final).

He then proved just as capable on grass by taking away the s-Hertogenbosch title prior to Wimbledon defeating Marc Gicquel in the final.

There was also a finals finish at Barcelona where he battled hard to take Rafael Nadal to three sets in the title match and there was a semifinal finish at Bastad.

The 26-year-old reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals this year, the Australian Open where he beat Del Potro and Juan Carlos Ferrero before losing to Novak Djokovic and at Roland Garros - beating Lleyton Hewitt but went out to Gael Monfils in four sets.

Not long after the Australian Open he reached a career-high ranking of No4 in the world which was a just reward for one of the most consistent and fittest players on the ATP circuit.

He also made the quarters at Dubai, Tokyo and the ATP Masters Series in Monte Carlo beating Marat Safin, but losing to Nadal.

Previously in Grand Slams he reached the semifinals at the US Open in 2007 as well as the quarters at Roland Garros in 2005.

Ferrer has had plenty of success at the Heineken Open making the quarterfinals in January 2008 as he tried to defend his title from the previous year where he had beaten
countryman Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-2, becoming the first Spaniard to win the title.

He has a career win-loss record in Auckland of 11-3.

"David is a world-class player who possess remarkable speed around the court and fully deserves his place in the top echelon of players in the world.

It will be great to have David back at the Heineken Open. He will definitely be a title contender once again," says Heineken Open tournament director Richard Palmer.

He is a member of the Spanish Davis Cup team which will take on Argentina and Del Portp in Argentina in the final later this month.

The Heineken Open featuring the singles and doubles will be held at the ASB Tennis Centre, January 12-17, 2009 with the first two days of qualifying January 10-11, 2009 at the Albany Tennis Park.

32,550 Posts

Tennis: Third top-20 player confirmed for Auckland

Tournament organisers today named a third world top-20 player to contest the Heineken Open tennis event in Auckland.

Spain's Nicolas Almagro, ranked No 18, joins world No 8 Juan Martin Del Potro, of Argentina, and Spanish world No 12 David Ferrer for the tournament on January 12-17.

Almagro, 23, who has won four titles, has reached the second round in Auckland for the past two years.

32,550 Posts

Tennis: Trying to escape his dad's shadow

It's not like Sergei Bubka has vaulted into contention for this year's Heineken Open.

The Ukrainian is not the famous pole vaulter who broke 35 world records and won six consecutive world championships but the son of the same name - making a career for himself in a different sport and who will enter qualifying for the January 12-17 event in the hope of joining 27 others in the main draw.

With a world ranking of 277, the 21-year-old has a tough challenge ahead but he is at least going in a direction his famous father mastered with a 6.4m-long pole in his hands - upwards.

Sergei Bubka jnr started the year ranked 477 and dipped to as low as 641 but a series of decent results on the Challenger and Futures tours has seen him in more respectable territory. He might still have to rely on dad for some spare change, given he won a meagre US$34,490 on tour in 2008.

He rarely manages to slip into a tournament unnoticed, despite his lowly ranking, although he did just that four years ago when playing an ITF juniors event in Auckland.

"I just didn't click at the time," Heineken Open tournament director Richard Palmer says. It won't happen this time.

Bubka jnr is accustomed to people taking an interest in him. "It's a little bit strange but I'm used to it," he said after making his debut at the 2003 Australian Open juniors.

"People have been coming up to me for years and saying, 'you're the son of a famous father'. I just wish one day it will be about me."

There will also be interest in another qualifier - two-time Heineken Open champion and former world No 12 Dominik Hrbaty. Now ranked 255, it will be his 10th visit to the tournament but the first time he has had to qualify. His career has been on the wane for the past two years as age and injury catch up with him.

Palmer will announce the bulk of his players on Wednesday but it is shaping as one of the strongest fields at the top end.

Three top-20 players have already been confirmed - Juan Martin Del Potro (9), David Ferrer (12) and Nicolas Almagro (18) and Palmer is confident of delivering at least one more.

"We are chasing Robin Soderling and Igor Andreev," he said. "I'm very confident we will get Soderling - it's pretty likely he will come - and we are still talking to Andreev.

"Four top-20 players would be fantastic and, who knows, we might get five and we've never had that many before. To get what we have at this point, I am very pleased."

Last year, the Heineken Open attracted only two players in the world's top 20 at the time - Ferrer and Juan Ignacio Chela.

Sweden's Soderling is ranked a career-high 17 after an impressive year on tour highlighted by the winning of his second ATP title. His coach is fellow Swede Magnus Norman, who won in Auckland in 2000, when he beat Michael Chang in the final. Russian Andreev has had most success on clay and was a quarter-finalist at the 2007 French Open.

Radek Stepanek (27) is expected to play in Auckland, especially as girlfriend and former world No 7 Nicole Vaidisova is playing the ASB Classic the preceding week, while 47th ranked Igor Kunitsyn, who beat countryman Marat Safin in the Moscow Open final two months ago, is also a likely starter.

Two of the three wildcards are likely to go to New Zealand's top two players, Rubin Statham (415) and Dan King-Turner (463).

1,415 Posts
Andreev is now on the Entry List for Sydney.
Perhaps they will get Soderling though.?
Yes Söderling is in

Main Draw

Acasuso, Jose
Almagro, Nicolas
Del Potro, Juan Martin
Ferrer, David
Ferrero, Juan Carlos
Gicquel, Marc
Ginepri, Robby
Granollers, Marcel
Gulbis, Ernests
Hanescu, Victor
Kohlschreiber, Philipp
Kunitsyn, Igor
Monaco, Juan
Montanes, Albert
Querrey, Sam
Schwank, Eduardo
Serra, Florent
Soderling, Robin
Troicki, Viktor


1 * Calleri, Agustin
2 * Darcis, Steve
3 * Garcia-Lopez, Guillermo
4 * Nishikori, Kei
5 * Lu, Yen-Hsun
6 * Gabashvili, Teimuraz
7 @ Koubek, Stefan
8 * Petzschner, Philipp
9 * Hernandez, Oscar
10 * Rochus, Christophe
11 * Reynolds, Bobby
12 * Vassallo Arguello, Martin
13 * Starace, Potito
14 * Devilder, Nicolas
15 * Navarro, Ivan
16 * Chardy, Jeremy
17 * Spadea, Vincent
18 * Massu, Nicolas
19 * Junqueira, Diego
20 * Canas, Guillermo
21 * Hernych, Jan
22 * Gremelmayr, Denis
23 * Vliegen, Kristof
24 * Bellucci, Thomaz
25 * Lapentti, Nicolas
26 * Fognini, Fabio
27 * Gimeno-Traver, Daniel
28 * Karanusic, Roko
29 * Stakhovsky, Sergiy
30 * Clement, Arnaud
31 * Mahut, Nicolas
32 * Muller, Gilles
33 * Kendrick, Robert
34 * Martin, Alberto
35 * Andujar, Pablo
36 * Dabul, Brian
37 * Anderson, Kevin
38 * Istomin, Denis
39 * Lee, Hyung-Taik
40 * Capdeville, Paul
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