'It's one of my favourite tournaments' - ASB Classic champion eager for title defence

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All her life, critics have taken one look at Lauren Davis' 157cm frame and told her she'd never amount to anything in tennis.

Lauren Davis during the ASB Classic WTA Womens Tournament Day 5 Semi Finals. ASB Tennis Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. Friday 6 January 2017. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Lauren Davis in action during Day Five of the 2017 ASB Classic.

Source: Photosport

Yet she proved them wrong in Auckland in 2017 - and wants to do the same thing next week, as she seeks to defend her ASB Classic crown.

Davis defied the odds to down Ana Konjuh and secure her maiden WTA title this year, just 12 months after being forced to go through the Classic qualifiers.

Since hoisting the trophy aloft, the tenacious Ohioan has secured solid results in Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells before a prolonged form slump.

She has won just 10 matches since the start of April.

"This past year has had its ups and downs and highs and lows - I learned quite a few lessons I wouldn't trade for the world," the 24-year-old Davis said.

"I'm really eager to put those into play (next) year.

"There's always those naysayers who take one look at my height and my stature and just write me off, which I think I'm really motivated by."

The Florida-based Davis, currently ranked 48th in the world, will face a qualifier in the Classic opening round but could find herself on a collision course with fourth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.

A semi-final against Danish star Caroline Wozniacki may also await.

Davis said she'd keep focusing on herself heading into the Classic main rounds.

"I'm kind of indifferent to it - I'm just looking forward to competing and putting all I've worked on in the off-season into play, see how it pans out," Davis said.

"It's one of my favourite tournaments, the support I have here is incredible."

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