KEY BISCAYNE (CBS4) – Many of the world’s top tennis players are in South Florida as the annual Sony Ericcson Open begins Monday at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne.

Participants include the world’s top 96 male and female tennis players. Defending champions include Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters.

Men’s and women’s qualifying matches start Monday and continue on Tuesday, and then the singles draws begin on Thursday.

The women’s final is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 2nd with the men’s final scheduled for Sunday, April 3rd.

The men’s qualifying draw will include top seeded 19-year-old Grigor Dmitrov. Veteran Rainer Schuettler, a former Grand Slam finalist, is also in the qualifying draw.

In the women’s draw Jelena Dokic is the top seed while future stars Christina McHale, Rebecca Marino, and Michelle Larcher De Brito are also in the qualifying field.

Venus Williams withdrew from the Sony Ericsson Open, citing an abdominal injury that has sidelined her for nearly two months.

Williams is a three-time champion at the tournament. Her sister Serena also is missing from the field, having been out of action since winning Wimbledon for the fourth time in July. She underwent surgery twice for a cut on her foot and last month had a pulmonary embolism and was hospitalized to remove a hematoma.

For more information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit


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