Pilot Pen Tennis Qualifying Draw Has Olympic Flavor

July 19, 2004 03:20 PM

24 Olympians Between Qualifying and Main Draw; Kostanic, Golovin Enter Main Draw

NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 19, 2004 – With a main-draw cutoff ranking (No. 40) that is annually among the strongest on the WTA TOUR, the qualifying draw at Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event, traditionally pits a strong mix of up-and-comers against well-known veterans. Players from 20 countries have committed to the 2004 Pilot Pen qualifying draw, and 14 Pilot Pen qualifiers have also been named to play in the Summer Olympics. With the 10 Olympians already in the main draw, a total of 24 Olympians will be playing in the highly competitive 2004 Pilot Pen field. The qualifying begins August 20 and concludes August 22. The main draw of the tournament continues through August 28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

Jelena Kostanic of Croatia and upstart teen Tatiana Golovin of France, originally slated for the qualifying draw, have moved into the main draw as Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela and Francesca Schiavone of Italy have withdrawn, citing their participation in the Olympics. Kostanic, ranked No. 37, has reached the semifinals in Vienna and the Tier I event in Charleston this year, and will be competing for Croatia in Athens. Golovin, 16, is a fast-riser on Tour, entering this year ranked at No. 345 before vaulting more than 300 spots to her current No. 40. Her outstanding first full year on Tour has included an appearance in the finals at Eastbourne, the semifinals at Paris Indoors, and the fourth round at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

“Tatiana Golovin is a promising young player who has made a lot of noise this year at just age 16,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director. “Pilot Pen fans are fortunate to get an early look at this rising star on the Connecticut Tennis Center stage.”

Some qualifiers most familiar to Pilot Pen fans include Tamarine Tanasugarn (No. 50) of Thailand, Magui Serna (No. 52) of Spain, Laura Granville (No. 80) and Marissa Irvin (No. 98) of the USA and Barbara Schett (No. 87) of Austria.

Top stars who have committed to the Pilot Pen Tennis main draw include No. 2 Kim Clijsters of Belgium; No. 5 Lindsay Davenport of the USA; No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 8 Maria Sharapova, No. 12 Nadia Petrova and No. 13 Vera Zvonareva of Russia; and No. 11 Paula Suarez of Argentina. The tournament retains three main draw wild cards and six qualifying wild cards, which will be awarded by August 19.

“This year’s Pilot Pen qualifying draw has a real international flavor with players from 20 countries represented, including 14 Olympians,” added Worcester. “In fact, between the Pilot Pen Qualifying and Main Draw combined, there will be 24 Olympians competing at the 2004 Pilot Pen.”

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA

“New England’s Premier Women’s Sports Entertainment Event of the Year.” The 2004 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event, will be held August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Four of the world’s top 10 and eight of the top-15-ranked players, including Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, have already committed to the tournament. A total of 14 hours of Pilot Pen Tennis action will be televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2004 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at 203/776-7331 or 888/99-PILOT.