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Li Na back at the Sydney International
20:23 AEST Tue Nov 13 2012

Li Na will be out to atone for her dramatic three-set loss to Victoria Azarenka in last year's Sydney International final after confirming her place in the draw for next year's event in January.

Despite her last-start defeat at Sydney Olympic Park, Li is a former champion at the event and will start as a firm favourite in 2013 alongside another locked-in starter Caroline Wozniacki as well as Australia's Samantha Stosur.

World No.7 Li said she was keen to fine-tune her preparations for the Australian Open at an event where she has enjoyed such success.

In the men's field, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga leads the way as an early favourite, along with compatriots Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.

Controversial Australian Bernard Tomic will also take part, with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and American John Isner also in the field.

The event will run from January 6-12, and 30-year-old Li said she was looking forward to competing in front of her large band of Chinese supporters in Sydney.

"The final against Kim (Clijsters) in 2011 was one of the best experiences in my whole life," said Li.

"I like the city of course and when you go back to the same tournament you see old friends that you see every year, so it feels really good.

Tournament director Craig Watson said the Chinese superstar, who won at Roland Garros in 2011, was a major drawcard.

"Li Na has performed exceptionally well in Sydney the last two years, giving Sydney tennis fans and the local Chinese community who come and support her plenty of great tennis action to cheer on," Watson said.

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