Tennis: Strong field to feature at Heineken Open

Defending champion David Ferrer. Photo / Richard Robinson
Defending champion David Ferrer. Photo / Richard Robinson

The complete field for the Heineken Open was announced today and features eight players inside the world's top 40.

Earlier in the month two of the world's top 10 players were confirmed for the event with defending champion David Ferrer and fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro signing on.

World number five Ferrer heads into the tournament in the form of his life after last week making the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals, upsetting world No.1 Novak Djokovic and world No.4 Andy Murray on the way.

He reached six finals this year, winning two to add to his 11 career titles.

Almagro, ranked 10th in the world, had won 10 career tournaments and will make his sixth appearance in Auckland from January 9-14.

Former world No 7 Fernando Verdasco was added to the Spanish invasion, nine appearing in total, which now includes two Argentineans and two young Americans.

Argentina's Juan Monaco and Juan Ignacio Chela, both ranked inside the world's top 30, will play in Auckland along with fellow South American and former winner Fernando González of Chile.

The 2005 champion and former world number five returns after having struggled in recent times slipping down the world rankings to 297th, last reaching a final in 2009.

Gonzalez is using his protected ranking of 55 to qualify for the event after returning from injury.

22-year-old Donald Young will play in New Zealand for the first time along with fellow American Ryan Harrison who has been handed a wildcard. Harrison is one of only two teenagers inside the world top 100.

Young is a four-time junior Grand Slam champion is starting to fulfill the promise he showed as a junior finishing the season ranked 39 after reaching the fourth round of this year's US Open.

South Africa's Kevin Anderson, ranked 32nd in the world, and Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci, 37th, complete the top eight seeds.

2008 winner and world number 42 Philipp Kohlschreiber will return for the event meaning three former champions will be playing in Auckland this January. Former finalists Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo add to the high number of Spanish entries.

Heineken Open Tournament Director Richard Palmer is thrilled with the current form of Ferrer and excited about the new faces coming to Auckland.

"Ferrer was one of the only players to beat Djokovic this year so he's in some pretty impressive form as he heads to Auckland. And I'm sure both Verdasco and Young will be crowd pleasers with their emotive styles."

2008 winner and world number 42 Philipp Kohlschreiber will return for the event meaning three former champions will be playing in Auckland this January. Former finalists Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo add to the high number of Spanish entries.

Heineken Open field
5. David Ferrer (ESP)
10. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
24. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
26. Juan Monaco (ARG)
29. Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG)
32. Kevin Anderson (RSA)
37. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
39. Donald Young (USA)
43. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
50. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)
51. Tommy Robredo (ESP)
53. Albert Montanes (ESP)
55. Santiago Giraldo (COL)
*55. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI)
58. Potito Starace (ITA)
60. Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
65. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
66. Albert Ramos (ESP)
67. Olivier Rochus (BEL)
W/C Ryan Harrison (USA)


- HERALD ONLINE/APNZ

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