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World top three head Brisbane tennis field
Wayne Heming
13:21 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

World No.1 Victoria Azarenka will have to beat a cracking field featuring eight of the world's top 10 women's tennis players to win her second Brisbane International title in January.

The power-hitter from Belarus has targeted Brisbane as her only lead-up tournament before defending her Australian Open crown in Melbourne.

Her addition on Wednesday, along with four other top 10-ranked players, completes a stunning line-up for the Brisbane tournament held from December 30 to January 6.

Tournament director Cameron Pearson confirmed the late entries with Azarenka, Germany's fast-moving Angelique Kerber (No.5), Italian Sara Errani (No.6), the Czech Republic's former Brisbane winner Petra Kvitova (No.8) and Denmark's long-time former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki (No.10) joining a classy field.

The line-up already boasts world No.2 Russian star Maria Sharapova, No.3 Serena Williams and Australia's Sam Stosur, who finished 2012 ranked ninth.

"I am really looking forward to returning to Brisbane. The city is beautiful, the venue is first class and I thoroughly enjoyed playing there in 2009 when I won," said the 23-year-old in a statement released by Pearson.

"I am very proud to have ended the year as world No.1.

"I am excited to start my 2013 campaign in Brisbane. I know I will get some tough matches against the world's best there, which is perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open where I aim to defend my 2012 title."

Pearson said it was without doubt the strongest women's field assembled for the Brisbane International.

"The women's field is spectacular. It's the strongest ever seen in Queensland with eight of the top-10 women set to start their 2013 season in Brisbane," he said.

"We have the current world No.1, three former world No.1 players plus five grand-slam winners and, between them, they have won 22 major titles."

He predicted some on-court fireworks with Azarenka and Sharapova both determined to turn the tables on Serena Williams who dominated their matches in 2012.

"It should make for some electrifying tennis," he said.


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