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Clijsters hopes to take over top spot in California swing


August 4, 2003
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - Kim Clijsters seeks to continue her charge to the No. 1 ranking this week in the $635,000 JP Morgan Chase Open.

The top-seeded Belgian has reached the semifinals in all 13 of her tournaments this season and has a chance to take the No. 1 ranking away from Serena Williams, who is out for two months after undergoing left knee surgery last week.

Williams has spent the last 56 weeks at No. 1 since winning Wimbledon in 2002.

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The 20-year-old Clijsters lost to countrywoman Justin Henin-Hardenne in the finals of the Acura Classic in Carlsbad, California on Sunday.

Henin-Hardenne matched Clijsters for the WTA Tour lead with her fifth title of the year. She has defeated her Fed Cup teammate in three of their last four meetings, but did not enter this tournament.

Clijsters will meet the winner of Monday's match between Emilie Loit of France and Yoon Jeong Cho in the second round.

Hometown favorite Lindsay Davenport, last year's runnerup, is seeded second. Defending champion Chanda Rubin is third followed by Japan's Ai Sugiyama and Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic.

The top 16 seeds receive first-round byes.

France's Mary Pierce was awarded a wild card and will face Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in a first-round match on Monday night. The winner will meet No. 16 Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the second round.

Italy's Rita Grande will face Slovakia's Janette Husarova in a first-round match on Monday. The winner draws Rubin.

First prize is worth $97,000.
 
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