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Williams confirmed for Brisbane event
By Laine Clark
16:46 AEST Thu Sep 13 2012
Serena Williams during the UP Open
US Open champion Serena Williams confirmed she will return for next year's Brisbane International.

Cheers turned to tears the last time Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova were confirmed starters for the Brisbane International.

But tournament director Craig Pearson was keeping his fingers crossed the injury jinx that cut down both superstars would not strike twice in 2013.

Days after clinching the US Open crown, Williams confirmed she would return for next year's Brisbane International, which will feature world No.2 Sharapova for the first time - or so Pearson hoped.

"Last year I got the call on Christmas Eve that she was pulling out (with an ankle injury) which was disappointing," he said on Thursday.

"But certainly it was the right thing (for her), she had to make sure she was in tip top condition for the Australian Open but we are rapt that she is coming in 2013."

Indeed it will be a case of third time lucky for reigning French Open champion Sharapova, who six years ago withdrew from the Gold Coast WTA event, which has now relocated to Brisbane.

"I wanted to add a warm-up event to my preparation," Sharapova said in a statement.

"Obviously going into Australia after a long off-season you always want to have the best possible matches.

"I tried to put Brisbane on the map last year but missed out due to injury but I can't wait."

Sharapova's Brisbane International hiccup did not cost her at the Australian Open where she lost to current world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in the final.

World No.4 Williams admitted her last stay in Brisbane was best remembered for "a lot of shopping" after injury ensured not so fond on-court memories.

"I had so much fun this year but unfortunately it ended fast for me with a disaster of an injury," said Williams, who reached the 2012 Brisbane International quarterfinals before breaking down with an ankle complaint.