Monday, March 23, 2009

Sania Mirza to Add Spice to WTA Ponte Vedra Field

Stoic Russian Nadia Petrova remains the top seed, but The MPS Group Championships WTA Tour event in Ponte Vedra Beach may have hooked its two most exciting players this week with the addition of Australian comeback queen Jelena Dokic, and Indian pin-up girl Sania Mirza.The MPS Group Championships takes place April 6- 12 at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, following the Sony Ericsson Championships inMiami on the WTA calendar, and prior to the Family Circle Cup in Charleston.

Formerly the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, this is the event's first year in Ponte Vedra Beach, and officially begins the 2009 claycourt circuit.

"Our player field is growing stronger. It is also shaping up with a great mix of veterans and rising stars which reflects the international flavor of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour," said John Arrix. tournament director. "The tournament is especially excited to have Jelena Dokic enter who is making a successful comeback on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour." 

Dokic's family struggles have been well documented, and the former No. 4 in the world almost quit tennis last year after failing to find consistent results even at the lowest ITF events. But this January she upset three seeded players at the Australian Open, finally losing in a three-set quarterfinal to No. 1 ranking contender Dinara Safina of Russia.

Mirza's beauty and standard revealing tennis outfits have made her a target of public criticism in Muslim India, but the 2009 Pattaya City runner-up has soldiered on, returning from a wrist injury that sidelined her for approximately half of last year. This January Mirza also won the Australian Open mixed doubles with Indian mentor and partner Mahesh Bhupathi.

Maria Sharapova is the defending singles champion in Ponte Vedra Beach. Sharapova has announced she will miss Miami with her ongoing shoulder injury, making a PVB appearance a possibility as she attempts an injury comeback.

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