Local hero Samantha Stosur will be first on court for the 2009 Brisbane International.
Queensland and Australia’s highest ranked tennis player has been given top billing for the first day of play, opening the tournament on Pat Rafter Arena against Russian world No.29 Maria Kirilenko.
Stosur, currently ranked 52, continues to climb up the rankings on her way back from an illness-enforced lay-off. She is ready to start her 2009 campaign.
“I am really excited about playing tomorrow, it’s going to be a really hard match,” the Gold Coast-based player said. “I’ll give it my best shot and I’m just really looking forward to playing at home again.”
The Stosur-Kirilenko match starts at 10.30 am and heads a bill of world-class tennis throughout the Queensland Tennis Centre and especially on Pat Rafter Arena.
“It’s a terrific line-up with a strong local flavour,” Tournament Director Steve Ayles said of the first session. “We are thrilled to be able to open the first Brisbane International with our top-ranked local player. It will be an historic day in Australian tennis.”
An all-French affair follows the Stosur match on Pat Rafter Arena when world No.24 Richard Gasquet meets No.54 Marc Gicquel.
Springwood teenager Monika Wejnert then steps onto centre stage for her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour debut against former Wimbledon finalist and current world No.17 Marion Bartoli from France.
Melbourne-based Jarmila Gajdosova begins her campaign as third match on Show Court 2 against China’s Shuai Peng (ranked 40).
Other main draw matches tomorrow include:
• Number 2 seed Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) v Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine)
• Taylor Dent (USA) v Steve Darcis (Belgium)
• Sam Querrey (USA) v Robin Soderling (Sweden)
Meanwhile Australians will feature heavily in men’s qualifying tomorrow with nine players still vying for a place in the main draw.
Action on the show courts and outside courts starts at 10:00 am. The gates open at 9:30 am.
Australians in action tomorrow:
Sam Stosur v Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
Monika Wejnert v Marion Bartoli (FRA)
Jarmila Gajdosova v Shuai Peng (CHN)
Greg Jones v Kevin Anderson (RSA)
Chris Guccione v Amer Delic (USA)
Sam Groth v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
Carsten Ball v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
Mark Verryth v Marco Curgnola (ITA)
Peter Luczak v Andrey Golubev (KAZ)
Colin Ebelthite v Gilles Muller (LUX)
Joe Sirianni v Peter Polansky (CAN)
Robert Smeets v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Tickets are on sale at the gate with reserved stadium seating starting at just $24.90. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.ticketek.com.au or 1300 888 104.