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Hingis and Schnyder fly flag in Zurich

Love all: Patty Schnyder (left) and Martina Hingis.


Swiss tennis stars Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder will be hoping history repeats itself when the pair line up for the Zurich Open, which starts on Monday.

Both players, who rank in the top ten on the women's circuit, have already lifted the title – Hingis in 2000 and Schnyder in 2002.

"I'm really looking forward to playing here again and giving my best," said Hingis, who only returned to competitive women's tennis earlier this year. "But such is the competition [in women's tennis] at the moment, that the draw will be all-important."

Seven of the world's top ten women will be playing in Zurich, much to the satisfaction of tournament organiser Beat Ritschard.

"We are really happy that Martina Hingis is returning to play in Zurich. She is now well established once again on the women's circuit and her start to the year was pretty fantastic. Now we will get to see in Zurich just how far she has come."

Out of the top 20 players in the world, only the Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, the American Lindsay Davenport and Russia's Nadia Petrova have elected not to make the journey.

Such is the quality of the field that players below the rank of 65 were not invited to take part in the qualification rounds.

Scoring points

This year the city's Hallenstadion, home to the tournament for the past two years, will be the stage for a number of interesting battles, aside from that for the tournament crown.

France's Amélie Mauresmo will be looking to strengthen her grip on the world number one spot ahead of her closest rival Russia's Maria Sharapova, while several players will be looking to book berths at next month's Madrid Masters.

The Madrid tournament attracts the top-eight ranked players and traditionally brings the season to a close.

"Zurich is the final tournament of any real importance before the Masters and even if players' bodies are tired and carrying injuries at the end of the season, the proximity of the Masters ensures that those who want to make the cut for Madrid have to put in good performances," said Ritschard.

As things stand, Hingis has every chance of making it to Madrid. Schnyder, however, faces competition from Russia's Dinara Safina and Anastacia Msykina and the Czech Republic's Nicole Vaidisova, who are all playing in Zurich.

The winner in 2002 and the losing finalist last year – both times against Davenport – Schnyder should benefit from playing in front of a home crowd.

That's the hope of the tournament director, who had to negotiate a switch to the Hallenstadion from the city's Schluefweg ice stadium two years ago.

"It's easier to organise the tournament here," said Ritschard. "Last year we had to quickly find our feet but now everything is running smoothly."

swissinfo, Mathias Froidevaux

Key facts

The Zurich Open runs from October 14-22 at the city's Hallenstadion.
Total prize money is $1.3 million (SFr1.7 million).
It was first held in 1984, and since 1993 it has been one of the top-ranked events behind the grand slams.

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Tales of two Swiss

Since 1994 Martina Hingis has won 41 WTA singles titles, five grand slam singles crowns and 36 doubles tournaments.

She was world number one for five years before retiring through injury in 2002. She returned to competition earlier this year and in May won her first WTA event since her comeback.

Since 1998 Patty Schnyder has won 13 WTA singles titles and four doubles crowns. Her best result in a grand slam tournament was reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2004.

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