Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova, both former world No
2 tennis players, are the latest additions to next year's ASB
Classic as the tournament's full field was revealed today.
The Russian pair, who won the doubles title at this year's
Australian Open, bolster the field with the sixth top-30
player also confirmed today - Kazakhstan's Yaroslava
New ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge said he never
thought he would have three former world No 2s playing in
Auckland, with the tournament's top billing Agnieszka
Radwanska also reaching that spot earlier this year.
"The tournament promises to be a great contest between the
young blood of Radwanska, Goerges and Shvedova against the
wise heads of Zvonareva and Kuznetsova. And the two former
champions [Wickmayer and Zheng] will keep them all honest."
Zvonareva, with 12 career titles under her belt, was ranked
at No 2 just two years ago when she was a finalist at
Wimbledon and the US Open. This time last year she was
playing in the season-ending championships for the world's
top eight players.
Despite making the third rounds at the Australian Open,
Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, Zvonareva's season has
been affected by niggly injuries. The 28-year-old has a good
record in Auckland being a finalist in 2006 and 2007.
Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner (at the US Open in
2004 and Roland Garros in 2009), reached the semifinals in
Auckland this year. She went through to the fourth round at
Roland Garros in May but struggled with a knee injury for the
latter part of the year.
Defending champion and world No 26 Zheng Jie confirmed at the
weekend she will be returning. This means the top six players
all come from the world top 30 - Poland's Radwanska (No 4),
Germany's Julia Goerges (18), 2010 champion Belgium's Yanina
Wickmayer (23), China's Zheng, Romania's Sorana Cirstea (27)
and Shvedova (29).
Shvedova made headlines this year when she became the first
woman in the open era to win a golden set - winning all 24
points in a single set - in the first set of her win over
world No 7 Sara Errani at Wimbledon. She went to a
career-high 25 in the world last month after making the
French Open quarter-finals and the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The former Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion has made
one appearance in Auckland in 2006.
The ASB Classic field also features Kiwi No 1 Marina
Erakovic, and up-and-comers Heather Watson (UK) and Christina
McHale (US), who is ranked 33 in the world.
The 2013 ASB Classic runs from 31 December this year to