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Ayu and Lavinia vie for Bali slot
September 8th, 2008

Bruce Edmond, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

A local player is assured a place in the main draw of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic with Ayu Fani Damayanti set to meet Lavinia Tananta in an all-Indonesian showdown in Sunday’s qualifying round.

Balinese Ayu, currently ranked 821 in the world, will have to hope her stamina holds up against tenacious baseliner Lavinia, currently ranked 560. The 19-year-old retired early in her semifinal match against Liza Andriyani during last week’s Sportama event in Jakarta due to a strained lower back.

Although Ayu holds a 4-2 edge in head-to-heads against Lavinia, she lost their most recent encounter earlier this year. They will play the first match on Center Court at 10 a.m.

National number one Sandy Gumulya, who defeated Liza for the Sportama title, also has a good chance of making the main draw as she plays India’s Shikha Uberoi, ranked 509 places below her at 774 in the world.

Liza, returning to competition at the age of 29, will face a sterner test against Ukraine’s Olga Savchuk, the world number 123 and top seed in qualifying.

Top seed and world number 12 Daniela Hantuchova warmed up on Saturday in her bid to go one better this year than her 2007 runner-up finish. The 25-year-old Slovak, who lost last year to American Lindsay Davenport, practiced with Russian Nadia Petrova at the Grand Hyatt Bali tennis complex.

Also returning to Bali after a two-year absence is German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, one of two wildcards in the main draw. Although her ranking plummeted almost 200 spots last year due to injuries, the former world number 14 enjoyed a fairy-tale run to the last eight of the U.S. Open last week. The other wildcard in the event is Yaroslava Shvedova.

Also confirmed for the hard-court event are world number 15 Swiss Patty Schnyder, 19th ranked Flavia Pennetta of Italy and her compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who is 27th in the world and the 2006 runner-up. Others to watch include Chinese Li Na and Shuai Peng, 2007 semifinalist Sara Errani of Italy and improving teenagers Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Tamira Paszek of Austria

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