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Rihanna's South of the Border Squeeze Play

Wonderwall, Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 10:18am (PST)

Looks like Rihanna is kicking off the new year with a new man. Photos surfaced this week of the chanteuse enjoying some serious PDA during a Mexican getaway with a handsy fella identified as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

RiRi was spied hugging, kissing and hot-tubbing with the ball player, who flashed a mischievous smile as shutterbugs caught him putting the squeeze on her posterior.

RELATED: See photos of Rihanna

This was reportedly the pair's second trip together in recent days.

According to Hollywood Life, Rihanna, 21, and Kemp, 25, rang in 2010 in Abu Dhabi, where the popster gave a New Year's Eve performance at the Emirates Palace.

"Rihanna and Matt are starting to get serious," claims an insider, who seems to have cracked the complex emotional response that led to their ostensible hook-up.

Opines the source, "Rihanna likes him because he's such a gentleman ... and super sexy!"

RELATED: Check out Rihanna's ever-changing hairstyles

Kemp, a rising star who earned the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards last season, told TMZ a few days ago that he and the fashion-forward singer are just friends.

But his apparent deflection is understandable given Rihanna's recent romantic history. After all, it was just shy of a year ago that she was left battered and bruised by then-boyfriend Chris Brown.

Since the assault, Rihanna has been linked to everyone from Canadian rapper Drake to "90210" actor Tristan Wilds to Justin Timberlake (all denied).

"I don't think I have all the time for a commitment right now, or the energy," she said in November. "A relationship is another life, another career, really."

Kemp, on the other hand, has made no secret of his desire to find a special someone. He's even ticked off what he's looking for in his perfect woman.

"Independent, pretty and got to have good teeth, too," he said last year. "That's the most [important] part, independent, somebody who can go off and do their own thing and not have to worry about me all the time."

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Meanwhile, is Brown also spending time with someone new?

Seems that in between riding along while pal Bow Wow tipsily tweeted from behind the wheel of a Lamborghini on New Year's Eve in Miami, he's been seen in the company of a young lady who appears to be in need of a self-esteem boost and a crash course in how to avoid toxic types.

And Chris is evidently doing his best to impress: In a move that indicates either insecurity or chuckleheadedness, he was snapped ushering the mystery woman around with a giant wad of cash in his hand.

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