Sharapova to Play in Pan Pacific Open

Thursday, December 7th 2006, 6:39 am
By: News On 6

TOKYO (AP) _ Maria Sharapova, ranked No. 2 on the WTA Tour, will return to Japan next month to play in the Pan Pacific Open.

Sharapova, who won the Pan Pacific title in 2005, will be among three top-10 players in the Jan. 30-Feb. 4 event at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, tournament organizers announced Thursday.

Martina Hingis, who is seventh in the world rankings, and defending champion and eighth-ranked Elena Dementieva of Russia, will also be taking part. Hingis won four Pan Pacific titles between 1997 and 2002.

For host Japan, Ai Sugiyama will make her 15th straight appearance in the event.