Serena enters U.S. Open with injury- protected ranking

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Serena Williams, who has  dropped to 172nd in the world after being sidelined for almost a  year with injury and illness, has opted to use an  injury-protected ranking to gain entry into the U.S. Open, the  United States Tennis Association (USTA) said yesterday.

Serena Williams

Champion Kim Clijsters will also be back to defend her title  in New York after being sidelined during Wimbledon with a foot  injury.

Williams, who won the last of her 13 grand slam titles at  Wimbledon in 2010, can use her injury-protected number one  ranking to enter eight tournaments, including one grand slam,  since she was sidelined over six months with health issues,  according to the USTA.

The American lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon last  month after being out of action for nearly a year — during  which she suffered a foot injury and life-threatening blood  clots.

Clijsters, who will be seeking a third-successive U.S. Open  crown, has had her season disrupted by injury since beating  China’s Li Na to win the Australian Open in January.

She injured her ankle while dancing at her cousin’s wedding,  resulting in a two-month lay-off. She returned to play in the  French Open but was knocked out in the second round by Dutch  world number 114 Arantxa Rus.

The U.S. Open runs from Aug. 29-Sept. 11 in New York and  will include 97 of the top 100 women players.

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