Champ returns to Bendigo International tennis classic 

Defending men’s champion Matt Reid and Australia’s number four woman Olivia Rogowska headline the acceptances for the US$40,000 2012 William Loud Bendigo International.

Australia’s number nine male, Reid faces some tough competition to retain his crown when the main draw matches begin on October 30.

His biggest challengers in the US$15,000 men’s draw will be Australian number 10 John Millman, last year’s runner-up Benjamin Mitchell (number 12), Michael Look (13) and former world number one junior Luke Saville (14).

Sixteen-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis also shapes as a player to watch after some impressive performances to reach the quarter-finals at Pro Circuit events in Cairns and Alice Springs.

Kokkinakis led the Australian Junior Davis Cup team which was runner-up to Italy at the world championships last month.

Rogowska will be the number one women’s seed and the recent Australia Fed Cup debutant brings top form to the Bendigo Tennis Association’s Nolan Street complex.

Three wins on the Pro Tour this season has elevated the 21-year-old Victorian to 112th in the world, one spot off her highest career ranking.

Rising star Ashleigh Barty is another player set to go deep into the US$25,000 women’s draw, while former New Zealander-turned-Australian Sacha Jones is the second-highest ranked Australian (sixth overall), just ahead of Bojana Bobusic (seventh).

Japan’s number two Misaki Doi will be seeded second behind Rogowska, while Japanese number four Yurika Sema is another title contender.

Knowsley’s Eliza Long remains a possibility to be handed a wildcard into the main draw, but the 17-year-old is a certain starter for qualifying if she misses out.

Other Bendigo-based players have the opportunity to qualify for the William Loud event, with a wildcard play-off to be held this Sunday for four men and four women.

The Garwood brothers – Curt and Ward – lead the men’s contenders, with Ashlea Baker and Mikaela Adamson strong chances in the women’s play-off.

Qualifying for the William Loud Bendigo International begins on Saturday, October 27, with the finals of the event to be played on Sunday, November 4.

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