Red or Yellow?
MADRID, Spain - The eight singles players contesting the Sony Ericsson Championships are in Madrid, but until Saturday morning they didn't know who they'd be playing in the round-robin portion of the $3-million, season-ending event. With just three days to go until the start of proceedings, world No.7 Anna Chakvetadze joined Spanish legend Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott to conduct the draw.
Each of the players was drawn into one of two Groups, Yellow or Red - in honor of the Spanish flag's colors - and over the first four days (Tuesday through Friday) the players will take on the other three women in their Group. The two best-performed women from each Group will advance to the semifinals - the best-performed player from the Yellow Group plays the No.2 player from the Red Group and vice versa, with the winners squaring off for the $1-million first prize on Sunday afternoon.
Below is a look at the two Group allocations (seedings in parentheses):
(1) Justine Henin (BEL)
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
(5) Serena Williams (USA)
(7) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
(2) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
(4) Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
(6) Maria Sharapova (RUS)
(8) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
Unlike the singles event, the doubles competition has a knockout format. The four teams - Cara Black/Liezel Huber, Chan Yung-Jan/Chuang Chia-Jung, Katarina Srebotnik/Ai Sugiyama and Kveta Peschke/Rennae Stubbs - will essentially start the tournament at the semifinal stage, with the winners of Saturday's 'opening round' advancing to Sunday's final.
The doubles draw will be conducted on Thursday night.