Madrid Doubles Field Complete
LINZ, Austria - Slovenian-Japanese duo Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama and the Czech-Australian pairing of Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs are the third and fourth teams to qualify for the doubles event at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place in Madrids Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo, November 6-11. Peschke and Stubbs qualified with a quarterfinal win at the Generali Ladies Linz, securing the final place in the four-team event. The newly-qualified teams join Zimbabwean-American duo Cara Black and Liezel Huber and the Taiwanese team of Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung at the four-team event.
This marks the first appearance for Srebotnik and Sugiyama at the year-ending event, having just paired up this spring. It is Srebotnik's first individual trip, while Sugiyama makes her sixth (but first since 2003, when she was runner-up with Kim Clijsters).
"We were very excited and happy to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships this year," Srebotnik said. "Ai and I did not start playing together until Miami and making it to the Championships is a nice accomplishment after only playing 11 tournaments together. She is a great player now and before, when she was the No.1 doubles player in the world. I have so much respect for her as a player and as a person and enjoy our chemistry together. At the same time we are also sad that Sam Stosur is sick and will not take part in the Championships this year. We wish her a quick recovery and hope to see her on the other side of the net soon."
Sugiyama was equally enthusiastic: "I am really happy to go to Madrid this year and play with Katarina. I have so much fun playing with her and we try to have fun all the time, on and off the court. I think by having fun playing together it has helped us with good results, and it brought us to Madrid this year. I hope to have a great time at the Sony Ericsson Championships and a really good result!"
Stubbs enters her 12th season-ending Championships, having made her debut in 1992 and having played the event nine of the last 10 years (the only exception being 2003). She won the title in 2001 with Lisa Raymond and was runner-up the last three years with Black. Peschke qualified for the first time in 2006 alongside Francesca Schiavone and now enters her second Championships.
"It's a pleasure for us to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships this year," Stubbs said. "We didn't start playing together until late March because we were playing with other people and I had knee surgery in February. Not long after we started together, Kveta and her husband, Torsten, received tragic news, so we didn't really start playing together until May. Since Eastbourne, things have been great and I have really enjoyed playing with Kveta, as she is one of the nicest human beings I have met. Personally, this time has probably meant the most after my knee surgery and the tough start we had. I am proud of our efforts and very happy to once again have made it into the tournament."
"The doubles event at this year's Sony Ericsson Championships will be one of the most diverse and exciting ever assembled for our season-ending event," said Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "We have a real mix of veterans and new faces, as well as seven different countries represented, including Chinese Taipei for the very first time. The fans in Madrid will be in for a real treat with the very best women's doubles can offer."
"With just over a week to go, the race to qualify is really heating up and it's great to see the doubles line-up now complete. It is a very exciting time for both these doubles teams to mark their first appearance together at the Championships," said Dee Dutta, CVP and Global Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson. "The Sony Ericsson Championships is all about being the very best; it's a week not to be missed and should be placed firmly on everyone's calendar."
"It has been thrilling this season to see how tight both the singles and doubles races are to the Sony Ericsson Championships with just over a week to go. The doubles is always very popular with the fans here in Madrid and the teams this year are the very best in the world," said Tournament Director Manolo Santana.
The Sony Ericsson Championships is the richest annual women's sporting event in the world. The tournament is the year-ending punctuation to an 11-month global Tour which finally gathers the Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the season to battle it out for a share of the $3-million prize purse. Since its inception in 1972, the event has been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York City, the Olympiahalle in Munich and The Forum and Staples Centre in Los Angeles. Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Serena Williams. The reigning champions are Henin (singles) and Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur (doubles).