Monday, 11 February 2013

Daniela and Jelena enter the fray

SLOVAKIAN Daniela Hantuchova (picture courtesy of and Serbian Jelena Jankovic will join former Danish World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the WTA BMW Malaysian Open, on Feb 25-March 3, in Kuala Lumpur.

Daniela, the World No 58 and a winner of four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, has a good record in Asia, having won the Pattaya Open in 2011 and 2012 as she aims for her sixth career singles title on her debut.

The 30-year-old, however, has yet to reach her peak following a string of average performances this season.

Jelena, a former World No 1 and a grand slam mixed doubles champion, will feature in a tournament in Kuala Lumpur, where she reached the semi-finals last season, since the Australian Open.

China's Zheng Jie, a two-time grand slam doubles winner, has been offered the third wild card but the World No 46 has yet to confirm her availability.

Caroline, who reached the last-16 in Melbourne, will need to produce something special in Kuala Lumpur to become the first top seed to win the Malaysian Open on her debut.

The former World No 1 has won 20 tour titles, including five in Asia.

Taiwan's Hsieh Su Wei, a two-time tour champion, has switched her focus to singles this season as the World No 25 aims to become the first player to retain a title in Kuala Lumpur.

Serbian Bojana Jovanovski and Japanese Ayumi Morita are the other top draws hoping to get their hands on the singles title after previous failed attempts.

Bojana, a first round casualty last season, is looking forward to a good season after achieving her career-high ranking of 38 on Jan 28 while Ayumi, a finalist in the inaugural edition in 2010, is aiming to emulate her idol and teammate Kimiko Date-Krumm on the tour.

Others in the main draw, barring withdrawals, are Greece's Eleni Daniilidou, Taiwan's Chan Yung Jan, Australia's Casey Dellacqua, Japan's Misaki Doi and the Pliskova sisters, Kristyna and Karpolina of the Czech Republic.

On the local front, Aslina Chua has accepted a wild card for the qualifiers while the second spot is expected to go to S. Theiviya.-