Bangalore beckons Serena Williams

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Bangalore, Jan 23 : Eight Grand Slam titles winner Serena Williams has confirmed her entry in the US 600,000 dollar Bangalore Open 2008 to be played here from March 3 to 9, Tournament Director Sunder Raju said today.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said confirmation on the effect of 26 year-old former World Number one Serena was received from her office. ''This is the first time a player of her stature would be playing in India,'' he said. He said ''Serena is a great champion and we are extremely delighted to play host to her.'' Raju also announced the participation of 22 ranked Russian Veera Zvonareva in the tournament which has been upgraded to Tier II. Zvonareva, who turned professional in 2000, reached a career high ranking of No 8 in the world. She has won five WTA tour singles and four doubles titles.

Serena, was earlier forced to pull out of Tier III tournament here last year due to ill health. Raju said efforts were on to rope in four more top 20 and three marked players. He said the final list of the entries, which closed yesterday, was yet to be received from the WTA.

He said WTA Chief Executive Officer Larry Scott would be present during the tournament and efforts would be made to take advantage to boost tennis by asking for more tournaments.

He said preparations were going on in full swing to make the tournament a grand success.

UNI

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