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Clijsters bids for China Open wildcard
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Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters, who has just come back after a two-year break from the game, has applied for a wildcard at the China Open, which will be held from Oct 2-11 in Beijing, the event's organizers said on Tuesday.

The former world No 1, who took the hiatus to start a family, made a stunning return to the WTA Tour last week in Cincinnati, reaching the quarterfinals.

She is continuing her comeback at the current Rogers Cup in Toronto where, on Tuesday, she beat British qualifier Elena Baltacha in the first round. The 26-year-old former US Open champion will meet China's Zheng Jie, who ousted Russia's Elena Vesnina, in the next round.

Having been absent from the sport for two years, Clijsters would struggle to qualify for the China Open in time, so she applied for a wildcard.

Her application received a warm welcome from the organizers.

"We are very glad that Clijsters has applied for a wildcard into the China Open. It's a good news for Chinese tennis fans," said Zhang Junhui, managing director of the China Open. "We will be sure to leave one wildcard for her.

"According to her current situation, she may reach the top 50 in time. Then, there is no need for a wildcard."

The event will be held at the Beijing Olympic National Tennis Center and total prize money for the tournament has skyrocketed to $6.6 million. Last year's purse was $1.1 million.

(China Daily August 20, 2009)

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