Top Doubles Teams Ready for Action
MADRID, Spain - The top four doubles teams on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour are set to compete in the single elimination doubles event of the Sony Ericsson Championships.
Co-ranked World No.1 players Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond look to defend their Championships title, as the duo were the first to qualify for the four-team field. The successful pair won the season-ending title last year in a nail-biting three set match over current qualifiers Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs. Raymond/Stosur won by a marginal 67(5) 75 64 scoreline in the final, overcoming a 5-2 second set deficit.
Partnering for their second season, Raymond/Stosur dominated the Tour's doubles competition this year, winning nine titles and finishing the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships with a 1,000 plus point lead. The duo won four consecutive titles and won 35 of 39 matches during the first half of the season. They come into the Championships with two recent titles under their belt, winning Linz and Hasselt. They also claimed their second Grand Slam title as a team, winning Roland Garros.
Raymond/Stosur will face the Championships' debutante team of Kveta Peschke and Francesca Schiavone. Peschke/Schiavone clinched the final spot just two weeks ago, capping a successful season of winning three Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles at Dubai, Luxembourg and Moscow, as well as a semifinal finish at the US Open.
Black/Stubbs will be making their second appearance as a team in the exclusive Championships field. Both players have a wealth of experience at the event, with Stubbs winning the title in 2001 (w/Raymond) and finishing runner-up the past two years. Black is hungry to win the season-ending title, as the 27-year old has finished runner-up four times but has yet to take home the trophy.
Yan/Zheng, the first Chinese team to ever qualify for the Championships (in either singles or doubles), will meet Black/Stubbs in the first round. Yan/Zheng are recording history yet again this season, adding to the record book data of becoming the first Chinese to win a Grand Slam (Australian Open), followed by yet another Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon. The team won six Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles this year to increase their total titles as a team to eight.
The doubles event will be decided over two days, with the semifinals taking place on Saturday and the final on Sunday. The winning team will take home $250,000 and the runners-up will accumulate $125,000.