4 Jan 2014

Four Kiwis could qualify for NZ Tennis Open

5:49 pm on 4 January 2014

After Ana Ivanovic sealed her first WTA tennis title since 2011 by beating American great Venus Williams to win an epic three-set Auckland Classic final, attention now turns to next week's New Zealand Open.

Top seeded Spaniard David Ferrer is bidding for a record fourth straight title, and a fifth overall - one more than the Australian great Roy Emerson.

Ferrer and the three other top seeds; Germanies Tommy Haas, American John Isner and South African Kevin Anderson, all have byes into the second round of the main draw.

The only New Zealander so far in the main draw, Rubin Statham, has has a favourable draw.

The national number one will play a qualifier in his opening round after being handed a wildcard which world number four Andy Murray turned down.

New Zealanders Michael Venus, Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak are into tomorrow's second round in qualifying, while former national junior competitior Cameron Norrie, who's now a Briton, also made the second round.

Sebastian Lavie won his opening qualifier and gets a bye straight into the third round, thanks to Statham's wildcard.

The feature match on the opening day pairs former Australian Open finalist and wildcard Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus against Germany's world number 54, Daniel Brands.