New Zealand number two Shelley Stephens has been granted the second wildcard into the main draw of the ASB BANK Classic scheduled for December 31 2001- January 5 2002.
Stephens, 23 improved her ranking dramatically throughout 2001 and clearly impressed with her form against players in full WTA events.
Her current WTA singles ranking is 284, after she reached a high of 249 earlier in the year with consistent results in challenger events. Her doubles ranking is currently at a career high of 136 after winning titles at US$25,000 and US$50,000 events.
She also reached the semifinals of doubles at two main WTA events during the middle of the year and has been a member of the New Zealand Federation Cup squad since 1995.
It will be Stephens first appearance in the ASB BANK Classic main draw where she will join New Zealand number one, Pavlina Nola in the EziBuy singles.
"Shelley has been out on the circuit performing all year and getting her singles and doubles rankings up, she deserves the reward. There are others pressing her very closely for the place in the main draw which is a healthy sign," said tournament director, Richard Palmer.
The four Kiwis in the qualifying draw are Auckland champion, Ilke Gers, Residenials finalist, Tracey O'Connor, former number one, Leanne Baker and national 18's champion, Diane Hollands.
For more information please contact: Richard Palmer - ASB BANK Classic Tournament Director 3733 623 021 675 006 or Dave Worsley 021 679 096