Serena Williams to play Brisbane International

AP, Wednesday 12 Oct 2011

Serena Williams has decided to play in the Brisbane International in January

Serena Williams

Williams’ move puts both U.S. Open finalists in the field for the tournament in Australia. Samantha Stosur, who was already confirmed for the Brisbane International, beat Williams 6-2, 6-3 to earn her first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows in September.

Williams, who counts five Australian Open titles among her 13 Grand Slam wins, will be opening her 2013 season at Brisbane.

“Well, I never played in Brisbane and I’ve never been to Brisbane (but I’ve) heard great things about it,” Williams said in a statement.

“It’s brand new (for me) so all that is going to be really exciting and it will help me with my seeding going into the Australian Open too, so that would be good,” she added.

The Jan. 1-8 Brisbane International, which for several years has served as a warmup for Australian Open later in the month, has been elevated to WTA Premier level.

As well as Williams and Stosur, former top-ranked Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic will play in Brisbane.

Clijsters, the reigning Australian Open champion, will be returning to the WTA Tour after being sidelined by a torn abdominal muscle that prevented her defending her U.S. Open title this year.

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