Women's event gets serious

THE main draw of the Launceston Women's Tennis International will start today after two days of qualifying matches.

More than 30 women from around the world are contesting the tournament at the Regional Tennis Centre in Racecourse Crescent for the $US50,000 prize.

Tournament director Trent Constance said six of the main single draws and six of the doubles would be contested today, while the last round of the qualifying matches would also be played out.

Women who contested the qualifying rounds on the weekend had to make it through two rounds to make it to today's competition.

All the seeds got through yesterday with Aleksandrina Naydenova, of Bulgaria and veteran Rika Fujiwara, of Japan, breezing through.

Four players will make it through the third qualifying round today and enter the main draw.

Constance said both days of qualifying rounds had gone well, especially in above 30 degree temperatures.

He said Hobart's Catherine Krueger, who was the only Tasmanian to contest the qualifying matches, did a great job despite getting knocked out in the first round and got her first world ranking points.

The 15-year-old bet Queensland's Annie Donaldson to make it through the first round, but lost to Nives Baric yesterday.

Constance said the tournament was a chance to see some of the world's up and coming stars.

``This pro-tour is the breeding ground for players. Last year this event was just a $US25,000 but the prize money has been increased to $US50,000 this year.''

Play will start at 10am most days with a feature match about 4pm.

Rika Fujiwara  is congratulated by Alana Parnaby.  Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

Rika Fujiwara is congratulated by Alana Parnaby. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON