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Nielsen likely to be seeded at tennis internationa

Nielsen likely to be seeded at Gallagher International Challenger in Hamilton

Kiwi No.1 Mark Nielsen is likely to be seeded at the upcoming Gallagher International Tennis Challenger in Hamilton, March 20-26.

The US$25,000 to be held at the newly refurbished Waikato Tennis Centre in Hamilton will see the Nielsen as the 7th seed for the event which is the first challenger to be held in New Zealand for five years.

Nielsen recently made the quarterfinals of a similar event in India as well the quarterfinals of the Perth Challenger just before Christmas.

The Kiwi Davis Cup player will have a hard task if he is to win the event with a number of experienced challenger and ATP Tour players released today for the tournament.

Top seed for the event will be Japan's, Goichi Motomura who was a finalist four challenger events last year and is currently at the peak of his career making the quarterfinals of the Ho Chi Minh Challenger event last week.

Dejan Petrovic from Australia is the second seed and was recently a singles finalist at Perth and made one doubles final.

Following Petrovic is the Korean Davis Cup player, Hyung-Taik Lee who is a very mobile player and has steadily brought his ranking closer to the 150 mark.

The 4th and 5th seeds are South African's Barry Cowan and Neville Godwin. Godwin is a former top 100 singles player and currently is ranked as the 94th player on the doubles entry system. He was a singles finalist in three different challengers, including a US$100,000 event in Turkey last year.

Steady Japanese player, Yaoki Ishii is the 6th seed with the 8th seeded going to Australian Michael Hill who will be a player to watch out for in the tournament having made an impact in a number of challengers in the past year.

Hill won the doubles title at Ho Chi Minh City last week with Todd Woodbridge and is currently ranked 74th on the entry list doubles and won one US$25,000 Challenger and the US$50,000 in Hong Kong with Neville Godwin

He also won the singles and doubles titles at the US$50,000 Aptos Challenger last year and was a quarterfinalist at a grass court event in the UK defeating former Auckland champion, Sjeng Schalken in the second round.

Other players on the entry list to watch out for include Luke Smith of Australia the winner of the NCAA singles title in the United States in 1997, but the 23 year old is still under a slight injury cloud.

Taylor Dent is the son of former Australian player, Phil Dent who was a finalist at the 1974 Australian Open singles. However Taylor plays for the United States and is highly rated in the USTA programme.

Paul Kilderry has had a doubles ranking high of 67 and won the Perth Challenger singles title in December beating Mark Nielsen in the quarterfinals and Dejan Petrovic in the final.

New Zealand doubles specialist, James Greenhalgh has already been awarded one of the four available wildcards into the main draw as has New Zealand Residentials winner and former Davis Cup player, Teo Susnjak.

The two other wildcards are likely to come from players such as Kiwi juniors, Simon Rea, Lee Radovanovich or hardworking Mark Thompson.

Qualifying for the main draw starts on Saturday March 18.

For further details contact Dave Worsley - Gallagher International Challenger Media manager. Ph 021 679 096 or Tournament Directors David Cashmore Ph 021 943 305 Tony Morgan Ph 025 482 147

GALLAGHER INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGER

TOURNAMENT PLAYER LIST

Name Entry list ranking Country 1 Goichi Motomura 145 (JPN)

2 Dejan Petrovic 187 (AUS)

3 Hyung-Taik Lee 196 (KOR)

4 Barry Cowan 202 (RSA)

5 Nevilie Godwin 206 (RSA)

6 Yaoki Ishii 207 (JPN)

7 Mark Neilsen 224 (NZL)

8 Michael Hill 233 (USA)

9 Taylor Dent 249 (USA)

10 Michael Joyce 297 (USA)

11 Grant Doyle 305 (AUS)

12 Paul Kilderry 309 (AUS)

13 Joseph Sirianni 343 (AUS)

14 Boris Borgula 365 (SVK)

15 Donavan September 374 (RSA)

16 Peter Clarke 378 (AUS)

17 Paul Hanley 399 (AUS)

18 Jim Thomas 413 (USA)

19 Jordan Kerr 418 (AUS)

20 Taso Vasiliadis 421 (GRE)

21 Yves Allegro 435 (SUI)

22 Luke Smith Protected Ranking to be confirmed (AUS)


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