The Russians are coming to the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament next week in Montreal, hoping to knock off top players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.
The singles draw for the women's event at Uniprix Stadium was set on Friday. Ivanovic and Jankovic were seeded 1-2, followed by six Russian-born players.
The top eight players at the tournament receive a bye into the second round.
The Russian women receiving byes were, in order of seeding: Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Anna Chakvetadze, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva.
The women's tour could have a new No. 1 player by the time of the Montreal stop. With a win at the Los Angeles event his week, Jankovic can overtake Ivanovic, who is taking the week off.
Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., recently became the first Canadian to win a tour event in 20 years, but will be in tough in Montreal. She will play Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei, with Jankovic awaiting the winner in the second round.
Jankovic and Sharpova are on the same side of the draw — which features four Canadians in all — with Ivanovic and Kuznetsova on the opposite side.
Stephanie Dubois of Laval, Que., will take on Olga Govortsova of Belarus, Toronto's Sharon Fichman battles American Jill Craybas, and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Repentigny, Que., faces No. 12 seed Nadia Petrova of Russia.
Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are both nursing injuries and not playing in the tournament. There will be no repeat champion, after Justine Henin surprisingly retired in the spring.
With Henin retired and Serena Williams and Amélie Mauresmo injured, Ivanovic is the only women participating who has previously won the event. She took her first career singles title in Montreal in 2006.
There are several other notable names in the singles draw, including Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama, 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, Nicole Vaidisova of Czech Republic, and American Ashley Harkleroad, who has made waves by posing nude in the current edition of Playboy.