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Just a few years ago, Alisa Kleybanova was climbing up the world tennis ladder. After good results at several big tournaments, she was moving fast through the rankings and achieved a personal best of World No. 20. But that all came to a halt in 2011, when the Russian athlete started getting sick and was forced to withdraw from matches. That’s when she found out she had been playing with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After more than a year of treatment, she’s finally won the biggest fight of her career: her life. The 24-year-old made her official comeback at the 2013 Western & Southern Open, making it to the third round. While it looks like she won’t be playing in this year’s U.S. Open, expect her to be a major force in years to come.
"I know that right now I need to be even stronger than before, because to come back it's going to take a while. It's going to take maybe some not great matches, but I need to go through this, I need to get this experience, and sometimes it's not going to be very positive experience,” she says. “I just have to get ready for that, because I know that my path won't be easy and I need to go for it and believe that I can do it." Unfortunately, she didn't move past the second round in this year's tournament after a tough loss to Jelena Jankovic.
From rising stars like Victoria Azarenka to familiar fan favorites like Serena Williams, here are 12 superstar athletes set to dominate on the court this year
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