Black, Huber Qualify For Madrid
MADRID, Spain Cara Black and Liezel Huber, the outstanding doubles team of 2007 thus far, are the first women to qualify for the doubles event at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place in Madrid's Recinto Ferial Casa De Campo between November 6 and 11.
The Zimbabwean and the American are in first place in the doubles Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships with 5,170 points. They are far ahead of their nearest rivals, Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur, by 1,682 points. Black and Huber lead the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour with six titles as a team, including two out of the three Grand Slam events played so far this year the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
For doubles world No.1 Black, this year marks the eighth consecutive season that she has qualified for the prestigious year-ending event, having finished runner-up in five of her last seven attempts.
"We are very excited to be the first team to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships. We have had such a fantastic year so far and we're really looking forward to heading back to Madrid," Black said.
Huber, who recently rose to a career-high No.2 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Doubles Rankings, is having the best season of her career.
"We look forward to playing the year-end Championships!" Huber said. "We have had a great year and it's only fitting for us to end it on a high note in Madrid."
"Cara and Liezel have had a brilliant season together, winning a Tour-leading six titles, including two Grand Slam titles, and have demonstrated that they are the team to beat heading into the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Larry Scott, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "So many of our fans like to watch and share in the passion of doubles. Having the year's leading team join Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic promises to showcase what will be the very best in professional women's tennis in Madrid this November."
"The race to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships is beginning to really heat up and it's fitting to see players like Cara and Liezel, who have been at the top of the their game all season, be the first women's doubles team to qualify for this year's tournament. Both players have been in consistently excellent form and their qualification ensures the doubles tournament showcases the best players in the world this season. The Sony Ericsson Championships is all about being the very best; it's a week not to be missed," said Dee Dutta, the Corporate Vice President and Global Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson.
"We are very happy that such a strong team has already made it to the Sony Ericsson Championships. Cara and Liezel have shown a great level this season, and I hope they will perform at their best in Madrid", said Sony Ericsson Championships tournament director Manolo Santana.
Black has won 33 career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles titles, including four women's Grand Slam doubles titles (three at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open) and over $4 million in career prize money. In 2007, she and Huber lead the Tour with six doubles crowns at the Australian Open in Melbourne, the Gaz de France in Paris, France, the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, the Dubai Tennis Championships in Dubai, UAE, the Championships at Wimbledon and most recently at the Acura Classic in San Diego, USA. Black finished the 2005 season as the No.1-ranked woman in doubles and recently reclaimed that spot following Roland Garros on June 11, 2007.
Huber won her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles title at the Tokyo Princess Cup in 2001 with Black and subsequently claimed her first Grand Slam title at 2005 Wimbledon, also with Black. In her career, Huber has won 21 women's doubles titles and over $2.2 million in prize money. Just last week, she achieved her career-high No.2 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Doubles Rankings.
The Sony Ericsson Championships is the richest annual women's sporting event in the world. The tournament is the season-ending punctuation to the 11-month global Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which gathers the top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the season to battle it out for a share of the $3-million prize purse. The event has been held in notable venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York, USA, the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany, as well as the Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA, since its inception in 1972. Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Serena Williams. The defending champions are Justine Henin (singles) and Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur (doubles).