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Former Champ, Local Hope Take Centre Stage

Their respective rankings don’t tell the whole story. Former singles champion Anne Kremer brings a world ranking of 33 and a tournament third seeding into the opening day of play at this year’s ASB BANK Classic. And on that basis, you might expect her to cruise past her first-round opponent in the Ezibuy singles draw ­ Kiwi prospect Pavlina Nola, currently sitting more than 100 spots below her on the world list. But looks can be deceiving

In fact, Bulgarian-born Nola, who married New Zealander Grant Nola two years ago, reached a career-high ranking of 68th before a late slump ... so she is capable of playing well above her current status. And that’s a fact Kremer can testify to ­ Nola holds a somewhat surprising 2-1 edge in head-to-head encounters between the pair.

Kremer actually won their last meeting ­ a straight-set result in qualifying on hardcourt at San Diego in 1999. But Nola took their previous match-ups at the 1997 US Open and earlier that year on clay at Vaihingen. While at least four main-draw entries must wait for qualifying results today to find who their first round opponents will be, several others have specifically requested Tuesday matches for a variety of reasons, including jet lag.