Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2013) – Looking to return to her career-high WTA ranking of No. 65 in the world this year, Russia’s Regina Kulikova draws the top-seeded position in the annual Childhelp Desert Classic, a women’s $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, taking place at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, starting Monday and running through to the finals Sunday, Feb. 10.
Qualifying for the tournament will take place Sunday and Monday. Admission is free to the tournament, which is being co-chaired by Jackie Cooper and Lornie Kuhle.
The 24-year-old Kulikova was born in Almaty in Kazakhstan. She is currently ranked No. 150 in the world and has won 11 career ITF singles titles and has reached the finals another four times. She has won three of those titles in the United States in Clearwater, Fla., Kansas City and Las Vegas.
Her best result on the WTA Tour was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 Dubai Tennis Championships where she defeated fellow countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova. Her highest WTA singles ranking is 65th, which she reached on May 3, 2010
The other top-seeded players and their ranking include: Russia’s Irina Khromacheva (No. 188), American Madison Brengle (No. 189), France’s Julie Coin (No. 202), France’s Victoria Larriere (No. 216), and Japan’s Junri Namigata (No. 224).
Besides Brengle, Americans Lauren Albanese and Krista Hardebeck are expected to be in the main singles draw.
Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee won the Wild Card Tournament at Kuhle’s Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas for a spot into the main draw. The other singles main draw wild cards are American Louisa Chirico, Christina Makarova, and Jan Abaza.
Childhelp Merv Griffin Village provides a home for 80-100 children that have been severely abused or abandoned by their parents. Several of the participants in the event will be visiting the facility and conducting a tennis clinic for the children.
For information on contributions to Childhelp email to EKuhle@aol.com.