Venus, Vera Qualify for Championships
October 24, 2008
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Russia's Vera Zvonareva and American Venus Williams have clinched the two remaining singles spots in the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from November 4 to 9, 2008. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the season-ending title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.
Venus Williams will be making her third appearance at the event, having reached the semifinals in her first two appearances, in 1999 and 2002. Zvonareva will be making her second appearance, having fallen in the round robin stage in 2004.
The final qualifiers join an acclaimed list of players competing at this season's Championships, held for the first time in Doha. Previous qualifiers are world No.1 Jelena Jankovic, Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic, US Open champion Serena Williams, new world No.2 Dinara Safina, Olympic singles gold medalist Elena Dementieva and former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Venus Williams' qualification adds upon a season highlighted by singles titles at Wimbledon in the summer and Zürich just last week.
Her other season highlights include semifinals at Bangalore and Stuttgart, as well as quarterfinal finishes at the Australian Open, Miami, Rome, the Olympics and the US Open.
"I am really pleased to have qualified for this year's season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha,"
Williams said. "Competing in a round robin format with players who have performed the best in 2008 is an exciting challenge. This year has been a very positive year and I look forward to continued success in Doha."
Zvonareva has won two singles titles this season, at Prague and Guangzhou, and has also been a runner-up at Hobart, Doha, Charleston and Moscow.
Additional season highlights include semifinals at Miami and Beijing, a bronze medal at the Olympics and assisting Russia to its fourth Fed Cup title in the last five years.
"It's really a great accomplishment that I have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships this year,"
Zvonareva said. "It has been a while since I last played there, and it feels wonderful to be one of the best eight players of the regular season. I look forward to returning to Doha to play the Championships, after I played really well at the Qatar Total Open earlier this year."
"Having Venus and Vera in Doha rounds out a tremendous field of accomplished players that are sure to deliver a fantastic week of tennis,"
said Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Tour. "Venus is one of the great champions of our sport, and she has proven again in 2008 that her rewriting of the record books is not done. Vera is a wonderful competitor and it is great to see her back among the Top 10. Fans around the world will have the opportunity to watch some amazing tennis at our year-end finale."
"The Sony Ericsson Championships will be a spectacular finish to what has been a great season for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour,"
commented Aldo Liguori, Sony Ericsson Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR
. "Venus Williams is a player that emphasizes the great year it has been, winning Wimbledon for the fifth time and Olympic gold in doubles. We are delighted that Venus will be competing in the season-ending finale and helping to make this a very exciting Championships. In addition, all eyes will be on Vera Zvonareva, where she will compete with some of the most talented players in the game. We are delighted to have such amazing players that make the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour such a fantastic arena for showcasing the best players tennis has to offer."
The complete doubles field at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha is still to be determined. To date, the teams of Cara Black & Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues & Virginia Ruano Pascual have qualified, while the other two spots are up for grabs. Currently the Czech-Australian team of Kveta Peschke & Rennae Stubbs and the Japanese-Slovenian team of Katarina Srebotnik & Ai Sugiyama are the frontrunners for those final two qualification berths.
With the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova due to a shoulder injury, Agnieszka Radwanska will have one of the two singles alternate positions, with the last spot up for grabs between Nadia Petrova, Flavia Pennetta and Caroline Wozniacki.
Sony Ericsson is committed to bringing entertainment, innovation and glamour to the tennis world by creating unique sporting events like the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. This tournament will bring the excitement of the game to a new audience, with Doha set to benefit from the biggest tennis event ever to be held in the region. Sony Ericsson strives to energize the fan experience at the Championships, by bringing them closer to tennis through the integration of innovation and technology, to deliver the best possible sports experience.
The Championships were first played in 1972 and since then the event has been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York City; the Olympiahalle in Munich; Staples Center in Los Angeles; and the Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo in Madrid. Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams and Justine Henin.