Tennis: Defending Champ Hopes to Give Bali a Proper Send-Off

By webadmin on 10:17 pm Sep 30, 2011
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Sandy Pramuji

Ana Ivanovic is set to return to Bali in November to defend her title at the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, which will be held for the last time in the paradise island.

Ivanovic, who received the first wild card, hopes to celebrate her 24th birthday by once again capturing one of the most prestigious titles on the Women’s Tennis Association tour when the exclusive, eight-woman event takes place at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua from Nov. 3-6.

Last year, the Serbian defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final, and she said she was eager to defend her crown.

“It almost goes without saying that Bali is one of the most beautiful places on the tennis circuit — probably the best, in fact,” Ivanovic said in a statement on Friday. “I had a wonderful time there last year, on and off the court. Off the court I was able to relax on the beach, but on the court I played some of my best tennis.

“I remember that last year we had an exciting atmosphere at each match, and I’m sure it’s going to be another great event.”

Despite having yet to win a tournament this year, world No. 21 Ivanovic has enjoyed a solid season, highlighted by reaching the semifinals in tournaments in Birmingham and Carlsbad.

She also enjoyed an impressive run to the quarterfinals in Pattaya, and at Indian Wells where she defeated world No. 6 Jelena Jankovic.

The only WTA-sanctioned tournament in the country will be played for the last time in Bali since it held its first edition in 2009.

The WTA announced in June that the Bulgarian capital of Sofia would host the tournament for the next three years.

The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) said holding the tournament in Bali had become too expensive.

“The cost is getting higher. We need at least $2 million to stage the event this year and a single sponsor cannot afford it,” said Subronto Laras, the association’s secretary general.

The tournament features six top-ranked WTA players who won at least one title during the season but did not qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul on Oct. 25-30, as well as two wild cards.

Andrea Petkovic, Pavlyuchenkova, Sabine Lisicki, Roberta Vinci, Daniela Hantuchova and Anabel Medina Garrigues are the leading contenders for the $600,000 tournament, while sponsors have yet to determine who will get the last wild card.