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Williams Sisters, Clijsters Lead U.S. Open Field

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Defending champion Serena Williams and four other past winners, including her sister Venus and wild-card entry Kim Clijsters, are in the provisional women's field for the U.S. Open.

Ninety-nine of the top 100 women in the current WTA rankings received direct entry Thursday into the hard-court Grand Slam tournament, played Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York. The one missing is No. 88 Nathalie Dechy of France, who announced her retirement this week.

Serena Williams will be bidding for her fourth U.S. Open championship and third major title of 2009, after those at the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon this month. She owns 11 Grand Slam singles titles overall, most among active players.

Clijsters will be playing at Flushing Meadows for the first time since winning her only major title at the 2005 U.S. Open. She is making a comeback after retiring in 2007.

She asked the U.S. Tennis Association for a wild card and was granted one. To prepare for the U.S. Open, the 26-year-old Belgian — who is married and has a daughter — will be playing in WTA hard-courts events at Cincinnati and Toronto.

The other past U.S. Open champions in the field are Venus Williams (2000-01), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2004) and Maria Sharapova (2006). Other Grand Slam singles title winners in the field are Amelie Mauresmo and Ana Ivanovic.

Kuznetsova also won this year's French Open, beating No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina in the final.

Safina is atop the list of 104 direct entries. They'll be joined in the 128-player field by the eight women (including Clijsters) who receive wild cards and the 16 who will earn berths in Aug. 25-28 qualifying.

The provisional men's field was announced Wednesday, led by five-time defending champion Roger Federer.

The winners of the U.S. Open men's and women's singles title will each receive a record $1.6 million.

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Posted by Shelia
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