CARSON, Calif. -- Thirty-five-year-old American Jill Craybas is the top-seeded player in Saturday’s opening round of qualifying for the 2009 LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife. Craybas, ranked No. 76 in the world, will play 16-year-old Manhattan Beach resident Nicole Gibbs, who was awarded a wild card. The two meet on outer Court 5 (not before 2:15 p.m.) at The Home Depot Center.
Melanie Oudin, 16 and ranked No. 78, is the No. 2 seed and is coming off an impressive showing this week at the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University. The Georgian, who made it through qualifying and to the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this month, also had to qualify for the main draw up north and fell in the round of 16 to Marion Bartoli on Thursday. She faces Alina Jidkova of Russia in the third match on Court 4.
Other top names in Saturday’s qualifying draw include 1998 Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson, a 28-year-old Manhattan Beach resident, Irvine’s Angela Haynes, 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan, U.S. Fed Cup hero Alexa Glatch of Newport Beach, and the USTA Pro Circuit’s all-time leader in career titles, Julie Ditty. American Danielle Mills and Lindsey Nelson were added as wild cards on Friday. Nelson was a two-time NCAA Division I singles runner-up at USC.
The LA Women’s Tennis Championships features a 56-player singles draw -- led by Manhattan Beach resident Maria Sharapova, 2008 LA Women’s Tennis Championships winner and world No. 1 Dinara Safina, Russia’s Vera Zvonareva (No. 7), Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka (No. 8), Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki (No. 9), Nadia Petrova (No. 10), Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic (No. 11), the event’s 2007 champion, Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova (No. 12), Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 13), France’s Marion Bartoli (No. 14), and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta (No. 15) -- and a 16-team doubles draw.
About the Tournament
The LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife, in its 39th year, is one of the most historic events in women’s tennis and is being held for the sixth consecutive year at The Home Depot Center. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier event offers prize money of $700,000 to the 56-player singles and 16-team doubles draws. The distinguished tournament champions list includes Dinara Safina, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, all of whom have also been ranked No. 1 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour during their careers.
The LA Women’s Tennis Championships presented by Herbalife is part of the prestigious Olympus US Open Series, which links nine summer hard-court tournaments to the famed US Open. This year’s tournament marks the sixth year players competing in Olympus US Open Series tournaments will be vying for bonus prize money at the US Open. Players competing in the “summer season” of tennis at the participating Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments will receive Olympus US Open Series points, which will ultimately earn the series winner the opportunity to double her US Open prize purse.
More information, including ticket sales, discounts and promotions is available at www.latennischamps.com.