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Sharapova excited by Birmingham return

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:30

A two-time tournament winner, the Russian former world number one will continue her return to fitness at the Edgbaston Priory Club following nine months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

“I’m really excited about getting back on to the grass courts again and playing in the AEGON Classic,” the 22-year-old said of the event which gets under way on June 8.

Sharapova added: “Birmingham is a really special tournament for me and I always get great support. I’ve won there twice before and I always feel very welcome – it’s excellent preparation for Wimbledon.”

Sharapova will be joined by another former top-10 player on the comeback trail, Jelena Dokic, who reached the quarter-finals of this year’s Australian Open as a qualifier.

The former world number four has continued to make an impression on the WTA Tour this season, reaching the final in Bucharest at the beginning of May and improving her ranking to number 80 in the world.

Joining experienced campaigners Sharapova and Dokic in the main draw are two of the world’s top-ranked players, Zheng Jie and Kaia Kanepi.

World number 15 Zheng made headlines when she reached last year’s Wimbledon semi-finals, while Kanepi is currently enjoying a career-high ranking of 18 and reached the semi-finals in Dubai earlier this year.

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