The Ballarat Open will have at least two top class international players as the final draws are finalised.
French duo Vincent Stouff and Irina Ramialison are set to grace the courts of Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre when the Platinum tournament begins on December 18.
The pair will fly-in to Australia on December 13, having spent time in the country earlier in the year, and will immediately travel to Bendigo to play in preparation for Ballarat’s feature event.
Ramialison is the higher ranked of the two, holding a world ranking of 331.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a strong season, winning a hard court tournament in Petit-Bourg in France while she won two tournaments on clay in Sweden and Slovenia through the middle of the year.
As for Stouff, the more experienced 32-year-old has not been focusing as heavily on the international circuit, holding a ranking of 1217 in the world.
However, he has enjoyed 27 wins from his last 31 matches on the lower level circuit.
Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre manager Rob Benoit said it was great to have such quality players locked in to play and he felt the tournament was appealing given the revamped surface gave Australian Open hopefuls an opportunity to warm to the plexicushion used in the grand slam event.
“Being a platinum, it’s a top level event,” Benoit told The Courier.
“Having the courts resurfaced – they’re looking fantastic – it’s a good lead-up to the summer, because its the same surface they’re going to play on a lot of the time over the Australian summer.”
Entries to the tournament have closed, with Ballarat receiving 20-30 more than last year’s event.
Despite the positive entries, some will have to be cut such is the nature of platinum tournaments, with singles draws capped at 96.
The five-day tournament will see the opening day hold qualifying rounds.
There will be free entry across all days while the 18/under gold tournament will run in conjunction with the platinum event.