Ten Romanian players have already qualified for the competition’s main table, while Madalina Gojnea, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Elena Bogdan will fight in the Australian Open qualifiers, with the tournament set to start on January 16.
Romania’s Monica Niculescu, Irina Camelia Begu, Simona Halep, Alexandra Dulgheru, Sorana Carstea, Alexandra Cadantu and Edina Gallovits-Hall will be on the main table of the women’s event.Victor Hanescu and Adrian Ungur will be on the main table of the men’s event.
In the qualifiers, Mihaela Buzarnescu will play against Ling Zhang (Hong Kong), Madalina Gojnea against Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) and Elena Bogdan against Monica Puig (Puerto Rico).
World number one Novak Djokovic is the top favorite on the men’s table. The Serb player is followed by Rafael Nadal (top seed 2), Roger Federer (3), Andy Murray (4), David Ferrer (5), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6), Tomas Berydch (7), Mardy Fish (8), Janko Tipsarevic (9) and Nicolas Almagro (10).
Caroline Wozniacki is the top seed on the women’s table. She is followed by Petra Kvitova (top seed 2), Victoria Azarenka (3), Maria Sharapova (4), Na Li (5), Samantha Stosur (6), Vera Zvonareva (7), Agnieszka Radwanska (8), Marion Bartoli (9), Andrea Petkovic (10).
Starting on Thursday at Melbourne Park, the event will see 96 women aiming to win three matches to secure one of the 12 available places in the main draw, according to australianopen.com.
World number 10 Andrea Petkovic pulled out of the Australian Open with a stress fracture in her back on Wednesday, becoming the second leading women’s withdrawal from the year’s opening grand slam.
The exciting German joined seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams, who has an autoimmune disease, on the sidelines, while Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams are among the other top players who are also battling injuries. Defending champion Clijsters also pulled out of the Brisbane event when she suffered a hip injury during her semi-final with Daniela Hantuchova. However, the Belgian says she will be fit for Melbourne.
Russian triple grand slam winner Maria Sharapova was another withdrawal from the Brisbane event with an ankle injury, but said she expected to be ready for the Australian Open.
The men’s draw is also affected by injuries with former champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal among the players contending with fitness problems.