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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 11:44 PM   #9
country flag Martian Stacey
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Sydney lures top women
December 1, 2005

KIM Clijsters, Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo were confirmed today as starters in next month's Medibank International at the Sydney International Tennis Centre.

The star trio, all former world No1s, join men's drawcards Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadalv at the January 9-15 event.

Clijsters is coming off the best season of her career. After missing most of 2003 with a career-threatening wrist injury, the 22-year-old Belgian captured nine titles, including her maiden grand slam crown at the US Open in September.

The 2003 Sydney champion, Clijsters ends the year as the world No.2 behind Lindsay Davenport after starting the season in 134th spot.

Henin-Hardenne, like her compatriot, also started the season late as she nursed an injury to her right knee.

The 2004 Sydney champion returned to her brilliant best with a second French Open triumph in June and ends the year with four titles and ranked No.6.

Mauresmo reached the top of the rankings for the first time this year and is at No.3.

The Frenchwoman, who won the Sydney title in 2000 and was runner-up in 2004, has edned the year in style with victory over countrywoman Mary Pierce in the final of the season-ending championships in Los Angeles.

Hewitt, a four-time Sydney winner, had already confirmed he was returning to defend his title, while the second-ranked Nadal, the Spanish teen sensation who won 11 tournaments this year, will be making his debut.
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