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Former Kiwi tennis No 1 Sacha Jones, who now represents Australia, will start her campaign for a title on New Zealand soil tomorrow (Tuesday) when she takes the court in the US$25,000 Configure Express Pro Challenger event at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington.
Jones, the second seed and ranked 228th, is the highest seed to take the court tomorrow. The 21-year-old hasn't won an international professional title in New Zealand, although she has claimed around half a dozen overseas titles at this prize money level.
Jones faces 17-year-old Riko Sawayangi of Japan who is ranked 606th in the world. She has a great draw through to the quarters where she would be expected to take on a Chinese player ranked at just over 300 and then be seeded to face in the semifinals Russian Arina Rodionova who is 268th and has been in good form over the past few weeks.
Other matches of interest on the first day include Waikato player Luci Barlow who came through qualifying and will face Japan's Makoto Ninomiya in the first round. Fifteen-year-old wildcard Claudia Williams from Auckland faces Israel's Keren Shlomo who is ranked 416.
The tournament top seed, teenager Chanel Simmonds (South Africa), who is ranked at 196, was a top 15 ranked junior two years ago and has won nine professional tournament titles. She will play her first match on Wednesday while top Kiwi junior Emily Fanning is also on court for her singles on Wednesday.