Russia's Nina Bratchikova will be back in Pune to accomplish something that slipped out of her hands during her last visit to the city as she becomes the top seed in the 12th NECC-ITF Women's $25000 tournament, which gets underway at the Deccan Gymkhana courts, on Dec 24.
Nina, who won double title in the WTA Challenger event in Pune last month, was also the top seeded player in the singles, but failed to get far in the tournament.
But her resolve to prove herself and get back to the winning mode ahead of the 2013 season that opens Down Under with pre-Australian Open tournaments, has brought her to Pune that provides her a good platform to get ready.
Speaking at the press conference, Tournament Director, Mukund Joshi informed, "We are back with an event that has been a regular feature on the international calendar for over a decade now. This is the oldest women's tournament in India and also longest running tournament."
"The qualifying rounds would be held on December 22 and 23, while the main draw matches would begin on December 24, with the finals to be played on December 29."
Host's Deccan Gymkhana has played a major role in promoting tennis and after hosting two national ranking junior tennis tournaments in October and November, tennis is back on the menu.
This is the 12th consecutive year of this tournament, with National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) being the sponsors on every single occasion, which makes it as one of the oldest association on the country's tennis calendar.
Joint Organising Secretary Prashant Gosavi said, "We are proud of the fact that the tournament has attracted a top-100 player this year in Nina Bratchikova."
Bratchikova is currently ranked No. 80 in Singles, and No. 65 in Doubles in the world, making her the highest-ranked player to have played in any ITF tournament in India this year.
Last month Bratchikova won doubles title in partnership with Georgian Oksana Kalashnikova, beating Israel-Thai pair of Julia Glushko and Noppawan Lertcheewakam.
She has 9 ITF titles in her bag, while the best she has done at Grand Slam is third round at the Australian and French Open this year.
Meanwhile, Kyra Shroff, who failed to get direct entry in the WTA Challenger and missed out on getting wildcard, will be the highest ranked Indian player in the draw. With No. 488 ranking, Kyra Shroff will be the only Indian direct entry.
Joint Organising Secretary, Dr. Jaydeep Date, informed, "Mumbai's Kyra Shroff received a direct entry in the main draw based on her ranking, while Deccan Gymkhana player Rutuja Bhosale is the second highest ranked Indian, at 547."
Besides Bratchikova, the tournament has attracted seven other players who are inside the Top-300 in the world, making it a very competitive field.
Aleksandra Krunik of Serbia (World No 171), Slovenia's Tadeja Majeric (239), Sheng-Nan Sun (255), Conny Perinn of Switzerland (271), Jasmina Tinjic (276), Belarus' Illona Kremen (279) and Thai girl Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (283) are other Tour regulars who will be seen in action on the Deccan Gymkhana courts.
Rushmi Chakravarthi, a seasoned player the circuit who recently partnered Sania Mirza at the London Olympics, is another star attraction.
NECC-ITF PAST WINNERS
NECC-ITF $10,000: 21st to 29th April, 2001
Singles: Radhika Tulpule (India) bt. Archana Venkatraman (India) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8)
Doubles: Rushmi Chakravarthi / Sai Jayalaxmi (India) bt.
Sania Mirza/ Sonal Phadke (India) 6-2, 6-0
NECC-ITF $10,000: 7th to 16th December, 2002
Singles: Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine) bt. Ipek Senoglu (Turkey) 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: Kateryna Bondarenko/Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) bt.
Sania Mirza/ Radhika Tulpule (India) 6-3, 7-6 (1)
NECC-ITF $10,000: 8th to 15th November, 2003
Singles: Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) bt. Megha Vakharia (India) 7-5, 6-3
Doubles: Montinee Tangphong/ Thassha Vitayaviroj (Thailand) bt.
Geeta Manohar/ Archana Venkatraman (India) 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4
NECC-ITF $10,000: 5th Nov to 30th November, 2004
Singles: Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb) bt. Rushmi Chakravarthi (India) 6-0, 7-6
Doubles: Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan)/ Sai Jayalaxmi (India) bt.
Wilawan Choptang/ Thassha Vitayaviroj (Thailand) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
NECC-ITF $10,000: 31st to 6th November, 2005
Singles: Naomi Cavaday (Great Britan) bt. Isha Lakhani (India) 6-4, 6-1
Doubles: Nicole Clerico (Italy)/ Kesina Palkina (Kyrgyzstan) bt.
Rushmi Chakravarthi / Sai Jayalaxmi (India) 7-5, 7-6 (9-7)
NECC-ITF $10,000: 4th to 11th November, 2006
Singles: Nungnadda Wannasuk (Tha) bt. Amina Rakhim (Kazakhstan) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Doubles: Kesina Palkina (Kyrgyzstan)/ Isha Lakhani (India) bt.
Madura Ranganathan (India)/ Nungnadda Wannasuk (Tha) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
NECC-ITF $25,000: 12th to 18th November, 2007
Singles: Sandy Gumulya (Indonesia) bt. Isha Lakhani (India) 6-3, 7-5
Doubles: Ling Zhang (Hong Kong)/ Varatchaya Wongteanchai (Thailand) bt.
Wynne Prakusya/ Angelique Widjaja (Indonesia) 1-6, 7-5, 10-8
NECC-ITF $25,000: 10th to 15th November, 2008
Singles: Jing Jing Lu (China) bt. Melani South (Great Britain) 6-3, 6-1
Doubles: Kai-Chen Chang/ I Hsuan Hwang (Chinese Taipei) bt
Elora Dabija (Romania)/ Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) 5-7, 6-2, 10-8
NECC-ITF $50,000: 19th to 24th December, 2009
Singles: Rika Fujiwara (Japan) bt Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Doubles: Nicole Clerico (Italy)/ Anastasiya Vasylyeva (Ukraine) bt.
Nina Bratchikova (Russia)/ Ksenia Palkina (Kyrgyzstan) 4-6, 6-3, 13-11
NECC-ITF $25,000: 2010
Singles: Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) bt Nina Bratchikova (Russia) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles: Nina Bratchikova)/ Alexandra Panova (Russia) bt
Sachie Ishizu (Japan)/ Anna Shkudun (Ukraine) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
NECC-ITF $25,000: 18th to 23rd December, 2011
Singles: Ce'line Cattaneo (France) bt Anna Shkudun (Ukraine) 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
Doubles: Lu Jia Xiang/ Lu Jiajing (China) bt
Varatchaya Wongteanchai/ Varunya Wongteanchai (Thailand) 6-1, 6-3.