Seeded Stosur in company of one
In-form Australian ... Stosur. Photo: Brendan Esposito
BERNARD TOMIC'S regression last year will leave the world's No.9 Samantha Stosur as the only seeded Australian for a second consecutive grand slam. And, this time, barring a late withdrawal by a player ranked higher than her, Stosur's minor rankings' dip since her last trip to Melbourne Park means she could meet any player in the top eight as early as the Open's fourth round.
The seedings are based on this week's WTA and ATP World Tour rankings. The locals behind Stosur are Marinko Matosevic (49), Tomic (64), Lleyton Hewitt (82), Casey Dellacqua(99) and Matt Ebden (105).
It will be Stosur's lowest seeding at a major tournament since she won the US Open in 2011; last year, as the No.6, she lost to Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the opening round of the Australian Open.
Tomic, who started the season at No.52, fell 12 places on Monday to his lowest slot in 17 months after opting to open the year at the Hopman Cup, a non-points invitational, rather than defend the points he earned by reaching the semi-finals of the Brisbane International last year.
However, based on his encouraging form in Perth, it may be just a temporary decline for Tomic, 20, who meets Matosevic in the first round of the Sydney International on Tuesday.
Spain's David Ferrer will be promoted into the top-four spot vacated by Rafael Nadal, while the only other confirmed no-show among the top 32-ranked men is the American No.27, Mardy Fish, who is still recovering after heart surgery. The Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and the Spaniard Marcel Granollers move into the top 32.
Meanwhile, Australia's Greg Jones caused the biggest upset by qualifying for the ATP event in Auckland by beating Romania's Victor Hanescu 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 for a first-round match against the sixth seeded Austrian, Jurgen Melzer. Canada's Jesse Levine, ranked world No.104, earned a first-round match with New Zealand's wildcard Daniel King-Turner after he beat Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 6-4, 6-1.
King-Turner will be Levine's second New Zealand opponent in Auckland, the Canadian having beaten Michael Venus 6-0, 6-3 in the second round of qualifying.
The others to qualify were Germany's Benjamin Becker, who will play France's Gael Monfils in the first round, and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, whose first-round opponent will be his fellow Dutchman, Robin Haase. Brazil's No.1 seed and the tournament's eighth seed, Thomaz Bellucci, came from 5-2 down in the first set to beat Belgium's David Goffin 7-6, 6-2.