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Clijsters withdraws from Austrian Open

BRUSSELS, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters Friday withdrew from the Australian Open, citing a nagging wrist injury.

The 21-year-old Clijsters, who is right-handed but uses a two-handed backhand, underwent wrist surgery last year.

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"The recovery of the wrist injury is going well, but Kim doesn't feel like putting too much stress on the joint that early and wants to avoid any possible risk," said a statement on Clijsters' Web site. The statement said she hoped to return to action sometime in February.

The ailment limited the former world No. 1 to just 22 matches in 2004, when she finished as runner-up to fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne at the Melbourne-based event and also broke off her engagement to Australia native Lleyton Hewitt.

The Australian Open begins Jan. 17.

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