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The girls’ race is still wide open, and the withdrawal of No.1 Kaia Kanepi (EST) from Japan next week means that the rest of the field can close in on the top spot.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS),Marion Bartoli (FRA) and Eva Birnerova (CZE) are all heading to Japan to try to gain the vital 250 points that could see them take the lead at the top of the rankings. Bartoli will be hoping to carry on from where she left off at the US Open, gaining her first Grade A title. The French girl beat Kuznetsova in the final in New York, which will give her extra confidence if they were to meet again. Kuznetsova will also be looking for her second Grade A title of the year, having won the Banana Bowl in Brazil.

If either Bartoli or Kuznetsova wins in Japan it makes a significant impact on the rankings as it will mean that they, as well as Kanepi, will have the chance to gain bonus points by winning the Orange Bowl in December.

Whoever wins in Japan will not gain an unassailable lead, thus with only 200 points separating the top 7 girls, the World Junior Champion title is still anyone’s for the taking.
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