Paige Hourigan today at the ASB Classic main draw press conference.
The Women’s ASB Classic has thrown up a few interesting matches, as the draw was announced today at Stanley St in Auckland. Kiwi Paige Hourigan will be up against former world number one Caroline Wozniacki first up, while top seed Serena Williams will play veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on centre court.
For Hourigan, the assignment against Wozniacki is a great opportunity to showcase her talent. There is every chance the Danish 29-year-old will be a bit rusty after the summer layoff, as well as the fact that she is about to retire after the upcoming Australian Open.
Fellow Kiwi Valentina Ivanova has drawn the Swiss world number 54, Jil Belen Teichmann.
Hourigan and Ivanova have both been handed wildcards to the main draw, in a move that will not only ensure New Zealand participation but also somewhat protect the main seeds from playing one another early on.
American teen sensation Coco Gauff has drawn Viktoria Kuzmova from Slovakia. The 15-year-old, who has been pegged as the next Serena or Venus Williams, has been in the country since before Christmas with her family.
Defending champion Julia Goerges will play a qualifier, who will be decided over the weekend at Stanley St.
The arena is opening its new stand, built over the winter to replace the ageing Yock Stand built in the 1950s. Ticket sales are strong heading into the women’s tournament, with a large home crowd expected for Hourigan and Ivanova’s matches.
However, there is some concern over the wind that is hitting Auckland right now. It is making life difficult for the qualifiers out on centre court, and will hopefully subside in time for the main draw that is due to start on Monday.