JASIKA HEADLINES BALLARAT OPEN FIELD

The Ballarat Open Platinum AMT (Australian Money Tournament) has enjoyed a strong entry list as main draw matches get under way on Monday.


While there is not the usual international flavour the tournament has welcomed in recent years, Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre manager Rob Benoit was pleased with this year's entries.


"We've had really good entries, it's bigger than last time," Benoit told The First Serve.

"From a numbers point of view, it's really good."


One of the main threats on the men's side of the draw is number one seed Omar Jasika. The 24-year-old Melbourne boy has been ranked as high as 239 in the world and burst onto the scene by winning the US Open boys' singles and doubles championship in 2014.


Since then Jasika's career has been halted by a two-year suspension from ASADA, he will be hoping this week can provide his best result since returning to the circuit last year.


Geelong's Jacob Grills in the number two seed and will be a strong chance for the title. Grills was runner-up in the tournament in 2019 and will be hoping to go one better.


Aaron Addison and Josh Charlton round out the seeds in the 16-player draw.

In the women's draw Jaimee Fourlis returns to defend her title.


The number one seed is an interesting case study. In 2017 she made the second round of the Australian Open and also took a set off former world number one Caroline Wozniacki at the French Open.


However, since then she has been unable to continue her rise. Peaking at 189 in the world, four years on the 22-year-old sits at 327. Fourlis will be hoping to kickstart a big summer on the hard courts of Ballarat.


Alana Parnaby returns as the number two seed and would be a feel-good story if she were to take home the title after coming so close so many times. Parnaby has made quarters, semi-finals and been a runner-up at Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre, could 2021 see her breakthrough?


The women's side also sees a trio of Sydney girls make the trip. Sienna Leeson (16 years old), Taya Powell (16) and Jane Haeusler (17), the youngsters sure to provide a bit of an unknown quantity to the women's draw.


Tamara Bajagic is the women's third seed and Erica Layton is seeded four.


Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre will host 18 and under and doubles events alongside the singles, with over 300 participants.