Women’s tennis qualifying tournament starts in Carlsbad

The qualifying rounds of the 2010 Mercury Insurance Open women’s tennis tournament begins in Carlsbad Saturday.

The tournament, which offers $700,000 in prize money, runs through Aug. 8 at the La Costa Resort and Spa.

Scheduled to compete are stars of women’s tennis including Lindsay Davenport, Nadia Petrova, Jelena Jankovic, Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Melanie Oudin and Svetlana Kuznetsova, organizers said.

The La Costa Resort and Spa has inked a three-year deal to host the tournament. It marks the return of women’s professional tennis to Carlsbad after a two-year hiatus.

The main stadium will seat 5,000 fans.

“With a small, intimate stadium at the La Costa Resort and Spa this year, the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and fans are guaranteed to be close to all the action on court,” said Raquel Giscafre, Mercury Insurance Open tournament director.

Reserved grandstand and box seat tickets range from $10-$125.