Williams Sisters Head Stellar Cast At Family Circle Cup

Serena and Venus Williams are two of the six former champions in the draw for the 40th staging of the Family Circle Cup.

Published March 31, 2012 11:56

Williams Sisters Head Stellar Cast At Family Circle Cup
Serena Williams

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - The list of players to have won the Family Circle Cup on more than one occasion is a star-studded one. All eight of the players to do so are Grand Slam champions and this week, on the 40th staging of the event, six more players are bidding to gain entry into this exclusive club.

Serena Williams is one of the six looking to follow in the footsteps of such tennis luminaries as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, and, despite her recent inactivity, few would bet against her doing so. The American, seeded No.5 this week, impressed in patches during a recent quarterfinal run in Miami, and, as a former French Open winner, is unlikely to take too long finding her feet on the green clay.

However, Williams will not have things all her own way in South Carolina; a strong draw - four of the Top 10 are present - is packed with clay court pedigree, including six of the past eight champions.

Leading the challenge is 2010 winner and No.2 seed Samantha Stosur, who, after an inconsistent start to the year, will be looking to gain some momentum during the spring clay court season. The Australian's big forehand, high-kicking serve and athleticism has made her a potent force on the dirt in recent times, appearing in six career finals on the surface, including a runner-up finish at Roland Garros two years ago.

Also sure to be in the mix is the in-form Marion Bartoli. The Frenchwoman, seeded No.3, has reached the quarterfinals or better in four of her last five tournaments and last week produced one of the performances of her career to end Victoria Azarenka's 26-match win streak. After Agnieszka Radwanska's late withdrawal due to a back injury, completing the Top 8 seeds are Vera Zvonareva, Sabine Lisicki, Jelena Jankovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova.

Seven other Americans join Williams in the 56-strong draw for the Premier event, including her sister Venus, another former champion, No.11 seed Christina McHale, Vania King and Sloane Stephens.

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