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Serena Returns to Action at Paris Indoors
PARIS - After spending a week celebrating her victory at the Australian Open, Serena Williams will be back to business this week at the Open Gaz de France. The American captured her seventh career Grand Slam title at Melbourne, a win that helped elevate her to No.2 in the world. Now, Williams makes her way to Paris where she's successfully won two previous titles (2003, 1999) on this carpet surface.
As the tournament's top seed, Williams will enjoy the luxury of a bye in the first round before preparing for a second round clash with either Maria Elena Camerin or wild card Stephanie Cohen-Aloro.
No.2 seed Amelie Mauresmo is also a former champion in her home country, capturing the Paris Indoor title in 2001. She faces a potentially interesting second round clash with countrywoman and another former winner of this event, 1998 champion Mary Pierce. Pierce will take on Anabel Medina Garrigues for the chance to play Mauresmo in the next round.
After capturing her first title of the year at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, Maria Sharapova will board a flight for Paris where she'll compete as the No.3 seed. Three has become a special number for Sharapova after bypassing Mauresmo for the No.3 ranking in the world this week. Now, she'll attempt to make the number two her special number as she guns for her second straight title.
Sharapova will face either Tatiana Golovin or a qualifier in the second round.
The other seeds who will be looking for a title this week are No.4 Nadia Petrova, still looking for her first career title, No.5 seed and Aussie Open semifinalist Nathalie Dechy, No.6 seed Karolina Sprem, No.7 Silvia Farina Elia and No.8 Magdalena Maleeva.
This is the 13th year for the indoor event in Paris. Belgium's Kim Clijsters won last year's title, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. Previous champions at this event include Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Pierce, Serena Williams, Nathalie Tauziat, Amelie Mauresmo and Venus Williams.