Tashkent Open 2010 ready to showcase the best of international women’s tennis

18 September 2010

Tashkent, September 17 : It’s that time of the year when the Uzbekistan readies itself for its biggest sporting events – the Sony Ericsson WTA Tashkent Open.

In its twelfth year running, the tournament has by far done well to promote the game with a sole aim of giving players from the region a platform to show their talent amidst their own.  

It is exactly just why the streets of Tashkent are dotted with life size posters of the homegrown stars -- Agkul Amanmuradova, Sabine Sharipova and Nigina Abdurraimova.  

Incidentally, all three have a proven track record on WTA Tour, which in turn has kept Uzbek tennis in the news. The tournament in the process has helped them grow in confidence and full credit for the same goes to the Uzbekistan Tennis Federation (UTF) in understanding that persistence pays.

The success of Iroda Tulyaganova in 2000, which translated into the first Uzbek player to lift the Tashkent Open, was a result of this persistence. But in the process it meant that a bigger following for the game by the talented young Uzbek players was created.

It must be noted that the tournament which began as a international tennis women competition in 1996 has now propelled into a not-to-miss tournament for players on the world stage. All this after the event received a shot in the arm when the event received the status of WTA Tour in 1999.

This year (2010) expects to be no different as 15 players from the Top 125 are contesting for top honours. The big names this year include world No. 29 Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania), Olga Govortsova (Belarus; ranked 45) and Elena Vesnina (Russia; 49). The three make up contestants from the Top-50 bracket.

Among the other big names from Asian tennis that make interesting reading is former Top-50 Indian Sania Mirza, who is slowly but steadily getting back into her big days on the circuit, Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugaran and Nara Kurumi (Japan), who upset Na Li at Wimbledon this year.  

Livening up the field is Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) and Elena Maria Camerin (Italy) who form part of the contingent from European who will be pitted againt players from neighbouring countries Alla Kudryavtseva, Evgeniya Rodina (both Russia) are out to give them a run for their money.  

Says tournament Director S Uthrapathy, Tashkent Open is the only event in the world to have provided a launching pad to careers of unknown tennis players from around the globe.

The previous winners of the event include: Israeli Anna Smashnova, Iroda Tulyaganova, Germany’s B. Lamade, MG Mikaelian (Switzerland), Virginia Ruano Pascual (Spain), Czech Republic’s Nicole Vadisova, China’s Tian Sun, Pauline Parmentier (France), Romania’s Sorena Cirstea and Shahar Peer (Israel).

Having catapulted rank outsiders into pin up poster girls, the Tashkent Open which begins with the qualifying rounds on Saturday, will expect yet another surprise. Else the field this year is enough to keep one on the edge of their seats.