Next year's ASB Classic will have one of the best fields in the tournament's history with two more top 20 players confirmed at today's full field announcement.
The top eight seeds for the tournament will be ranked among the best 30 players in the world, with the unseeded former world No 1 and seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams adding the superstar element.
In addition to the two top 20 players who have already been announced - China's Peng Shuai and Germany's Sabine Lisicki, ranked 15th and 17th respectively, are two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (ranked 19) and former world No 10 Flavia Pennetta (ranked 20).
Russia's Kuznetsova, a former world No 2, lost to Peng in the second round in Auckland this year but went on to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the fourth round at the Australian Open, where she lost to Francesca Schiavone in the longest grand slam match in history in Melbourne.
Pennetta reached her third grand slam quarter-final at the US Open beating world No 3 Maria Sharapova on the way, having earlier won her first grand slam doubles title at the Australian Open.
Also returning for next year's ASB Classic are defending champion Greta Arn (Hungary), 2009 champion Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) and rising star Julia Goerges (Germany) _ meaning all of this year's semifinalists (Peng, Arn, Wickmayer and Goerges) are back on court at the ASB Tennis Centre from January 2-7 next year.
ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer rates it as one of the best fields the tournament has ever seen.
"To have four players from the top 20 in the world and 10 players being ranked 32 or higher - plus superstar Venus Williams - makes this field outstanding," he said. "To pick a winner is impossible with so many top class players.
"When you consider the cut-off for the 24 direct acceptances for the tournament will end up being around No 70 in the world, you start to realise what a treat the sporting public are in for in early January."
Other highlights of the full field announced today include top Kiwi Marina Erakovic, who makes the draw in her own right (ranked 61 in the world) rather than having to rely on a wildcard.
One of the biggest names in the remaining field is Australian Jelena Dokic, a former top five player who returned to some form last year winning her sixth WTA title in Kuala Lumpur.
Another player to watch is the highly regarded Christina McHale, who beat world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki on her way to a season-ending ranking of 43. The 19-year-old is touted as the next big American hope.