Date becomes top seed

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The Independent Online
Kimiko Date of Japan is the new No 1 seed at the Direct Line Insurance International tournament at Eastbourne next week. Date, who has moved up to a career-best No 6 in the world rankings after reaching the French Open semi-finals, replaces Jana Novotna, who withdrew yesterday. Date is seeded to meet Natasha Zvereva of Belarus in the final.

Novotna pulled out of the singles with a virus, but has decided she is strong enough to join a formidable doubles field. She will partner the world No 2, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, while Zvereva teams up with Gigi Fernandez, whom she partnered to the Wimbledon and French Open titles.

Martina Navratilova will also be in the doubles line-up, with her likely partner being America's Lisa Raymond.

Singles wild cards have been awarded to Brighton's Clare Wood, Karen Cross of Exeter, and Jo Durie.

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