Azarenka, Sharapova, Williams, Stosur Playing In Birsbane
epa03449000 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns the ball to Maria Sharapova of Russia during their semi-final match of the WTA Championships tennis tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, 27 October 2012. EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU |
The strongest-ever women’s field is set to battle it out at the Brisbane in 2013, with eight of the top 10 women confirmed for the event.
The star-studded field is headlined by world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, the inaugural winner of the Brisbane International, and includes Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki.
“I am really looking forward to returning to Brisbane. The city is beautiful, the venue is first class and I thoroughly enjoyed playing there in 2009 when I won the inaugural title,” said Azarenka.
“I am very proud to have ended the year as world No.1 and I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane. I know I will get some tough matches against the world’s best there, which is perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open where I aim to defend my 2012 title,” the 23-year-old continued.
This will be Azarenka’s first visit to Brisbane since capturing the women’s singles in 2009 with a straight sets win over French woman Marion Bartoli. Her stellar 2012 has seen her win six WTA titles, including her first Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open.
Brisbane International Tournament Director, Cameron Pearson,said the women’s field is spectacular, it’s the strongest ever seen in Queensland with eight of the top 10 women set to start their 2013 season in Brisbane.
“In a battle between the top three, Victoria and Maria will be especially motivated to turn the tables on Serena, who dominated their matches in 2012, and this should make for some electrifying tennis.
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Milos Raonic sealed his debut with a 19th ace to see off Russian qualifier Alexander Kuznetsov 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5. The Canadian second seed needed a comeback after losing the opening set to the No. 88 before taking control in the second set and keeping up the pressure in the third to book into the second round.
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