The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eight from top-100 in fray
Antonella Serra Zanetti of Italy is likely to be the third seed

Calcutta: Eight players in the top-100 of the current WTA rankings list will feature in the Sunfeast Open WTA Tour Tier III meet, to be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here from September 19 to 25.

Announcing this, tournament director and former Davis Cup captain Jaidip Mukerjea said on Sunday that Anastasia Myskina of Russia, currently ranked No. 14, will lead the 32-strong field of which 23 slots have been taken up so far.

Three wild cards, four qualifiers and a couple of special exempt entrants will complete the field in the $170,000 prizemoney tournament, biggest women’s tennis event in India. The singles winner will take home $27,000 and the doubles champions will receive a cheque for $8,000.4

Myskina apart, Sania Mirza (currently No. 50), Italy’s Antonella Serra Zanetti (71), Laura Pous Tio of Spain (77), Karolina Sprem of Croatia (78), Maria Elena Camerin of Italy (80), Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn (89) and Rika Fujiwara of Japan (93) are the others currently listed in the top-100.

As of now, Myskina, Sania and Serra Zanetti will be the top three seeds.

Besides Sania, Shikha Uberoi is the only Indian to have got in directly into the main draw. There could be one or two more, via wild cards.

Mukerjea said efforts are on to rope in another top player. “As far as wild card entries are concerned, the preference will obviously be Indians. But we are still negotiating with a few top players. Let’s see how things develop,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Team India captain Sourav Ganguly intends to be present on the day of the final, state urban development and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya informed. Sourav is on the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-headed tournament committee.

Sourav’s presence, though, will depend on when the India versus Zimbabwe second Test ends. The match in Bulawayo is from September 20-24, but could end much quicker given Zimbabwe’s recent track record.

Chief minister Bhattacharjee will inaugurate the meet on September 19.

Sports minister Subhas Chakraborty said the government is keen on projecting the meet as a “big awareness programme” for tennis in the state.

Meanwhile, students from 100 schools are participating in a trophy-designing contest. The winner’s trophy and the mascot of the meet will be unveiled on Thursday.

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