Zvonareva to return at Australian Open, Kirilenko out

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Former world No. 2 Vera Zvonareva will return to competition at the 2014 Australian Open after taking around 18 months off to treat a shoulder injury. The Russian hasn’t played a pro match since the 2012 London Olympics.

In announcing its player fields, Tennis Australia also said that world No. 19 Maria Kirilenko will miss the tournament due to an ankle injury. Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is the only other woman in the Top 100 who won’t compete, as she retired last August and will be removed from the rankings list on January 1.

World No. 107 Petra Martic of Croatia was the last direct acceptance on the women’s side, meaning that players ranked below her, including Tsvetana Pironkova, Mirjana Lucic, CoCo Vandeweghe, and Heather Watson, will have to qualify if they are not given wild cards.

The only absence among the world’s Top 100 men is No. 75 Viktor Troicki of Serbia, who is currently serving a doping suspension. World No. 103 Go Soeda was the last direct acceptance on the men’s side, leaving players such as David Goffin, Dustin Brown, and Denis Kudla, having to qualify if they are not given wild cards.

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