Five Grand Slam singles champions feature in a remarkable ASB women's Classic field that would surely rank as the strongest in the tournament's history.

Sure, there have been years when all eight seeds have been ranked inside the world's top 30, but never has there been the number of star power drawcards that will be on show in 2020, and who could all rightfully claim to be the headline act.

There are 164 WTA singles titles among the field and all but three players have won a tournament.

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki is back for her sixth appearance and at No 37 in the rankings, will be the sixth seed in singles.


A handful of the biggest names had already been revealed with US Open champion Bianca Andreescu the top seed at No 5 in the WTA rankings, having made the final last January as a qualifier. She went on to win the WTA premier title in Indian Wells in March and another title in Toronto before her stunning US Open triumph over Serena Williams.

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Williams, with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, suffered a second-round exit in her only previous appearance in Auckland in 2017, but she went on to win the Australian Open, her last major triumph. The American, at No 10 in the rankings, will be the second seed.

Fifteenth ranked Croatian Petra Martic has had a superb season and the 28-year-old will be the third seed in Auckland. She reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the fourth round at both the US Open and Wimbledon. Martic won her first tour title in Istanbul in April.

Eighteen-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, at No 24 in the rankings, will be the fourth seed. She is repaying the faith shown by tournament director Karl Budge when as a wildcard, she reached the quarter-finals in January. Anisimova made the French Open semifinals in Paris in June.

Two-time defending champion Julia Goerges, at No 28 in the rankings, will be the tournament's fifth seed and despite the incredible competition, will be a strong contender to three-peat on a centre court she cherishes more than most.

US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will be the top seed at the ASB Classic. Photo / Photosport
US Open champion Bianca Andreescu will be the top seed at the ASB Classic. Photo / Photosport

While 15-year-old American Coco Gauff is bound to be centre of attention given her meteoric rise following her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon, another young American, Catherine (Cici) Bellis, is the seventh seed. The 20-year-old has used her protected ranking of 43 to get into the tournament after spending more than a year off the tour with career-threatening elbow and wrist injuries. Bellis is a former WTA Tour newcomer of the year.

There is a welcome addition from France with former world number four Caroline Garcia playing in Auckland for the first time. The 26-year-old has slipped to 46 in the rankings and will be unseeded. She is a class act however and has won seven WTA singles titles, most recently in Nottingham in June.


2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, ranked 44, rediscovered her best form towards the end of the season, reaching the final of Linz last month where she lost to Gauff. Ostapenko played in Auckland for the first time as a wildcard six months before winning her first grand slam title in Paris. 54th ranked Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open champion, completes the list of five Grand Slam singles champions in the draw.

Premium gold

Kuznetsova's younger compatriot Daria Kasatkina appears in Auckland for the second time, after beating Venus Williams in 2016. The 22-year-old broke into the world's top 10 a year ago but has endured a difficult 2019 season and is currently without a coach. Kasatkina is a tremendous talent who won the French Open junior title in 2015, and will be a tournament dark horse with her ranking of 69.

Serena Williams. Photo / Photosport
Serena Williams. Photo / Photosport

The entry cut-off is an impressive 82, with American Taylor Townsend rounding out the list of direct acceptances. It's remarkable considering there are two further 32-draw WTA tournaments with much bigger prize pools in the Brisbane International, a premier level event which carries a US$1.5 million purse, and the tournament in Shenzhen in China, which has a prize pool of US$650,000 compared to Auckland's US$250,000.

In Andreescu and Gauff, the ASB Classic has attracted the two players who generated the biggest stories in women's tennis this year. The later start date of the 6th of January for the main draw is no doubt going to see increased interest from spectators on the first two days, when only six main draw matches will be played on centre court. Given the quality of this field assembled, Budge should achieve his goal of a tournament sellout.

The 24 direct acceptances into the 2020 ASB Classic:

1. Bianca Andreescu
2. Serena Williams
3. Petra Martic
4. Amanda Anisimova
5. Julia Goerges
6. Caroline Wozniacki
7. Catherine Bellis
8. Rebecca Peterson
9. Jelena Ostapenko
10. Caroline Garcia
11. Alison van Uytvanck
12. Viktoria Kuzmova
13. Svetlana Kuznetsova
14. Carla Suarez Navarro
15. Alize Cornet
16. Tamara Zidansek
17. Lauren Davis
18. Cori Gauff
19. Daria Kasatkina
20. Kirsten Flipkens
21. Jil Teichmann
22. Laura Siegemund
23. Monica Puig
24. Taylor Townsend