Sunfeast to help attain year-end Madrid: Bartoli

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Kolkata, Sep 15 (UNI) French tennis ace and world No 10 Marion Bartoli wants to use Sunfeast Open to increase her ranking for the year-end Madrid Open.

Madrid Open is the women's tennis version of the Masters in the ATP tour and the top eight point accumulators for the current year get to play in the tournament.

On the points ladder, Marion is now ranked ninth behind Serena Williams, whom she needs to overtake in the remaining 75 days to make it to the Madrid Open.

Talking to the media here today, the number one French tennis star, the top seed in the sunfeast Open 07, said, '' I want to play Sunfeast Open in order to get some valuable points and then go on and play some stronger tournaments in Europe and collect as many points as I can. '' '' Besides I have come to India once before when I played in Hyderabad. I love to see different cities and countries and want to enjoy my stay in Calcutta (now called Kolkata), '' the Wimbledon finalist said.

Barrtoli stormed to the final of Wimbledon 07, defeating Justin Henin and then became an instant star even while being defeated by Venus Williams 6-3, 6-4.

In the US Open, she lost in the fourth round to Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4.

On the bumpy-ride after the wimbledon, she said, '' Wimbledon has been tough and it took me more than a month to recover. Now I am slowly coming back into the groove. '' '' Life on tour has been pleasant after the wimbledon and I am thinking positive and hoping to win a grand Slam sooner or later, '' she said.

Asked whom she considered as the toughest opponent in this WTA Tier III meet, she said, '' In a tournament everyone is a tough opponent. It's no different here. Besides I don't know which half of the draw I am in. '' On her experience of playing Sania Mirza, she said, '' I played her once before and she was quite cozy in beating me. However, if we meet here it will be a tough match. '' The duo have met once before and Mirza came on top in the US Open in 2005.

Bartoli takes on American Vania King in the top half of the draw, the same half in which Mirza is drawn, raising prospects of an early meeting in the tournament.

Marion was born in a little village called Le Puy en Velay on October 2, 1984 and grew up there giving her the unique way of standing inside the baseline.

'' I was born at a town where it was very cold during winter time and we had to practise indoors at a hall. The hall was such little that there wasn't any extra space there behind the baseline. That's why I have been used to stand inside the baseline. It will remain with me forever, '' she said when asked about her unique way of standing at the baseline.

She also informed that she was inspired by Monica Seles to take up a double handed forehand that had worked wonders for her game. In modern tennis the two-handed forehand was very rare and that's why everybody compared Marion to the now retired Monica Seles who also hit her forehands two-handed.

On her current form, she said, '' I am currently at the top of my game and doing pretty well. The French open has been my turning point. Then came the Wimbledon final and it is a time when she was perhaps playing the best tennis of my life. I am currently the number one French women in my country, ranked higher than the likes of Emile Mauresmo and Mary Pierce. It feels good. '' Asked which was her favourite surface, Marion said, '' Now it's grass as I am doing so well on it. But I have always done well on the hard courts too. '' Bartoli is a junior US Champion in 2001.

UNI

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