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Bojana Jovanovski begins defence of Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan

Bojana Jovanovski will attempt to achieve what 14 women before her were unable to do at the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan.

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The Serbian broke into the top 50 of the world rankings for the first time in her career in 2013 and capped that season by lifting her third tour title at the WTA International hard-court event.

Jovanovski returns for the 16th edition of the tournament, but no player has successfully managed to defend the title.

Having been a late entry to last year's tournament, Jovanovski defeated Olga Govortsova in what proved to be the longest final in the event's history.

The 22-year-old top seed will be expected to come through a first-round tie against Kateryna Bondarenko, who is ranked some 505 spots below Jovanovski at 541 in the world.

However, Jovanovski is joined in Tashkent by no fewer than four other former champions.

Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu, whose 2012 triumph remains her only career title to date, is seeded second.

The world number 61 was knocked out in the second round of the recent US Open.

Shahar Peer and Ksenia Pervak, the 2009 and 2011 champions, could potentially meet in the second round, while Alla Kudryavtseva completes the quintet of former winners.

A competitive field also contains the likes of Karin Knapp, 2012 runner-up Donna Vekic and Lara Arruabarrena, while Anna-Lena Friedsam heads to the event buoyed by winning the Suzhou Ladies Open.

Igor Shepelov, general secretary of the Uzbek Tennis Federation, said: "We are happy to see stronger entry lists for the Tashkent Open over the years."

The event has in the past proved a valuable source of ranking points for rising stars, with the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki having finished runners-up at the event.

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