Clijsters wants Indian Wells title again

March 9, 2004 at 6:54 AM
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif., March 9 (UPI) -- Kim Clijsters hopes to become the first successive tennis winner at Indian Wells since Martina Navratilova in 1990-1991.

The 20-year-old plays for the first time this week since winning back-to-back titles in February, returning to the California desert to defend her title at the $2.1 million dollar WTA Pacific Life Open.

Clijsters received an opening-round bye, and when the women's singles begin Wednesday, Clijsters is in a group with 10th seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi, sixth seed Russian Vera Zvonareva and Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn.

If Clijsters advances through the bottom half of the draw to reach the semi-finals she could face Davenport who Clijsters beat 6-4 7-5 in last year's final.

Clijsters has a 14-1 record with her only loss coming in the finals of this year's Australian Open. She is making her first appearance since winning in Paris and her native Belgium last month.

Top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne is returning to Indian Wells after a one-year hiatus. The World No. 1 has the toughest draw in a grouping with fifth seed Chanda Rubin, of the United States, and 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

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