St. Petersburg Open 2002 :: international tennis tournament
St. Petersburg Open 2002 :: international tennis tournament
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19.10.2002

Press release #1
In Saint-Petersburg on renovated courts of SCC "Peterbugski" the qualifyings started today.


This tournament is aimed to determine the four qualifiers who will play in the Main Draw of St.Petersburg Open. Owners of Wild Cards were determined not earlier than yesterday. They are: a winner of the Saint-Petersburg Best Masters Tournament, Andrei Stoliarov from Adler and Vladimir Voltchkov from Minsk.

Today 14 Russian tennis-players have started. Many of them are a youth of 17-19, and only four of them advanced to the next round, and even mainly because they plaid to each other. That is how Kirill Ivanov-Smolensky, Teimuraz Gabashvili and Evgeni Smirnov advanced to the second round. That was only Denis Golovanov from Sochi who managed to defeat a foreign opponent on the tournament first day. He won a match to Svarc Ladislav from Slovakia.

And it was not the less attention that the Saint-Petersburg fans have paid to the events in Madrid where the tournament of Masters Series will finish tomorrow. Quite a lot of Russian tennis players plaid there and they plan to come to Saint-Petersburg. Among them there are the famous masters such as Safin, Kafelnikov, Youzhny, who have lost in Madrid not later that on approaches to a quarterfinal. But the other participants of St.Peterburg Open excelled: Agassi Andre and Novak Jiri, who advanced to the final match in Madrid. This result is exclusively important for them both. It permits the Czech master to press his claims for a place in the top 8 on Masters Cup in Shanghai for the first time. Jiri has already jumped from the 11th place in the Champions Race to the 5th. And if he wins a title he will take the third position and oust Marat Safin and Huan Carlos Ferrero, who are forwarding now.

Much more serious claims Agassi has. He got his place in Shanghai long ago. Now he fights Loitton Huitt, who has been injured, for a title of the world first rocket. If Agassi wins the final in Madrid he will be just 43 points behind the Australian in the Champions Race. Hence, he has one more motive to play successfully in Saint-Petersburg. In this very place he may cover this gap of 43 points with respect to a 50 points that a winner of St.Petersburg Open will be granted.

And though one more serious tournament is to take plce (Masters Series in Paris), becoming a leader before the season closing in he presses his claims for two achievements: a final title of the world first rocket ATP and a title of World Champion awarded by ITF simultaneously.

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