They moved the Family Circle Cup draw off campus Saturday to the Daniel Island Grille. And the event was flawless, except for one minor glitch. Someone forgot to bring the Family Circle Cup, which holds the player chips used for the draw.
That delayed the event for a few minutes, but the draw party was well received by fans and players who participated: Virginie Razzano and Michaella Krajieck.
Family Circle Cup officials got what they wanted by turning what is usually a private event into a community party.
Tournament director Bob Moran explained to the fans that the matchups do rely on the luck of the draw, and Saturday was a perfect example. Two of the matches in the upper half of the bracket will pit qualifier vs. qualifier. That means at least two of the 56 players in the main draw will be qualifiers.
Krajieck sweated out the draw, as her chip was the fifth from the last chip drawn.
"I enjoyed it," she said. "But I would have been happier if they drew me quicker."
The Family Circle Cup, which is celebrating its 10th year on Daniel Island, lost some of its star power this week when Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Sabine Lisicki pulled out Thursday because of injuries. But there is still plenty of star appeal.
Caroline Wozniacki is the No. 1 seed, while Jelena Jankovic is the No. 2 seed. If the brackets play out true to form, that would pit the No. 2 player in the world, Wozniacki, vs. the No. 7 player in the world, Jankovic, in the final on April 18.
"We would have loved to have Serena and Maria, but the injury bug got us," Moran said. "We have the world No. 2 and two past champions in Jankovic and Nadia Petrova. Plus, we have some up-and-coming players."
The 19-year-old Wozniacki was a finalist last year, losing to Lisicki. She finished last season as the No. 4-ranked player in the world and has risen in 2010 after reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and the championship at Indian Wells.
Jankovic ended 2007 as the No. 1 player in the world after winning four events, including the Family Circle Cup. Jankovic has played well this year, reaching the third round of the Australian Open and claiming the championship at Indian Wells. That was the 25-year-old Serbian's 12th singles title of her career.
A Wozniacki-Victoria Azarenka showdown looms in one semifinal while Jankovic-Samantha Stosur could be the other semifinal if the brackets play out without upsets.
Azarenka is No. 9 in the world, and is one of the fastest rising players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. She was No. 506 in 2004, but rocketed to the top 10 last year. She has three career titles under her belt. This year, she reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne, the final in Dubai and the fourth round at Key Biscayne, Fla. Her best finish in Charleston was a third-round appearance two years ago.
Stosur is coming off a big year in 2009. She reached the semifinal at the French Open last spring after being seeded No. 30. She finished last year ranked No. 13 in the world.
Petrova, who won the Family Circle Cup in '06, is the No. 6 seed, while Vera Zvonareva is the No. 7 seed. She has 10 career titles under her belt. She reached the semifinal in Charleston in 2008.
Daniela Hantuchova is the No. 8 seed.