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Altitude cracks all seeds in Bogota


 

Originally published on: 17/02/12 09:55

It wasn’t exactly the strongest field a WTA tournament has ever seen to start with, but the eight quarter-finalists at this week’s WTA International event in Bogota have the biggest opportunity of their lives now there’s not a single top 100 ranked player left in the draw.

The snappily named XX Copa BBVA Colsanitas – a $220,000 event – saw the likes of Marina Erakovic, Alexandra Dulgheru, Jelena Dokic and Gisela Dulko on the start list, but not a single seed has surpassed round two.

Responsible for upending Gisela Dulko 7-5 6-2, Alexandr Panova, whose only ever Grand Slam appearance came in defeat to Marion Bartoli at last year’s US Open, suggested the high altitude was a cause for the mass exodus of seeded players.

“It’s very difficult to play here for everyone. It’s about handling the nerves and the conditions,” said the Russian, ranked No.118 in the world. “The one who finds a way to put the ball over the net and into the court at the end of the day wins.”

Quite why none of the seeded players could manage that concept is a mystery, but the result leaves a WTA tournament without any seeds in the quarter-finals for the first time since Hobart in 2009. Back then, Petra Kvitova seized the chance to win her maiden WTA crown in the absence of higher ranked players and has since won Wimbledon, the WTA Championships and climbed to No.2 in the world.

It might be a long shot to expect a similar fate to await the eventual champion at the Colombia event, but there’s a significant confidence boost to be had from the tournament win and the accompanying $37,000 winner’s cheque.

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