Safina enters WTA Brisbane International

SYDNEY: Russia's Dinara Safina, set to lose out to Serena Williams in the battle for the year-end number one ranking, has entered the Brisbane International in January, according to tournament officials.

Safina, 23, was included in a strong women's draw despite withdrawing from the WTA Championships in Doha with a back injury and doubts about her fitness for the Australian Open in Melbourne in mid-January.

Brisbane tournament director Steve Ayles said he had been in negotiations with Safina's management team before her latest injury setback.

"We have been in negotiations with Safina for some time and it is just a shame that when we are ready to announce her attendance she suffers an injury in Doha," Ayles said.

"Safina is a fighter and I have no doubt she will be here in January and Safina will be a strong addition to the women?s draw."

Safina joins Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic in a strong Brisbane women?s draw.

But Safina admitted this week that her rehabilitation programme could rule her out of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2010.

"It's a question if I will be able to play in Australia, because when we speak with the doctors, it doesn't sound so good," Safina said in Doha.

"So it's possible that I might even not be 100 percent fit for the Australian. Maybe I'll have to skip it.".

As a result of her injury Safina will just miss out on the year-end rankings honour, which will go to American Serena Williams for the first time since her only previous number one finish in 2002.

The Brisbane International will take place from January 3 to 10.