10 Jan 2009

Demanding qualifying for Heineken Open

8:30 am on 10 January 2009

Qualifying for the 2009 Heineken Open tennis tournament begins today with the draw one of the toughest ever with 11 players ranked inside the top-100 in the world.

The top seed in qualifying is Germany's Philipp Petzschner who is ranked at 66 and was the singles and doubles winner at Vienna last year.

The eighth seed Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci at 87 will play Wellington's Finn Tearney who has a couple of ranking points and is ranked at over 1000.

There are four other New Zealanders competing.

Meanwhile New Zealand number two Dan King-Turner has gained a late main draw singles wildcard after Japan's Kei Nishikori did not require a wildcard as he moved into the draw as a result of the two special exempt places not being taken up.

New Zealand number one Rubin Statham was earlier awarded a wildcard as was two-time former Heineken Open winner Dominik Hrbaty.