Championships Team Profile: Black and Huber
MADRID, Spain - It has been an absolutely groundbreaking season for both Cara Black and Liezel Huber, who rejoined forces at the beginning of the year and have proceeded to take the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour by storm with a mass of title runs, including majors at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Black and Huber, 28 and 31 years old respectively, won three titles as a team in previous years, at Tokyo in 2001 then Rome and Wimbledon in 2005; but they've already eclipsed that this year, claiming eight titles going into the Sony Ericsson Championships, including the aforementioned Slams, Tier Is at San Diego and Moscow and Tier IIs at Paris [Indoors], Antwerp, Dubai and Linz. They reached the semifinals or better at 21 of 22 events, a second round loss at the US Open the only blemish amidst an impeccable series of finishes.
On Thursday, August 16, the Zimbabwean-American pairing became the first to qualify for Madrid - over two months before any other team made the cut.
"We have had such a fantastic year so far and we're really looking forward to heading to Madrid," Black said.
"We have had a great year and it's only fitting for us to end it on a high note in Madrid," Huber said. "We are very happy and our preparations for Madrid went just right. Whatever happens we're fully prepared for it."
Although this is their first time playing the season-ender together they have each been here previously with other partners. Black is playing the event for the eighth consecutive time, partnering Elena Likhovtseva from 2000 to 2003 and Rennae Stubbs from 2004 to 2006; she has been runner-up five times, in 2001 and 2002 with Likhovtseva and each of the last three years with Stubbs. Huber has played here once before, losing first round in 2002 with Nicole Arendt.
Regardless of their results this week, Huber will ascend from No.2 to No.1 in the doubles rankings Monday, joining Black at the pinnacle of women's doubles. It will be the fifth time in Tour history that two women will be co-ranked No.1. Lisa Raymond was part of two of those pairs, sharing the No.1 doubles ranking with Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur; Latin combo Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez also shared the top doubles rank; and Steffi Graf and Monica Seles split the top ranking in singles during 1995 and 1996.
Race standing: No.1
2007 Team Win-Loss Record: 67-14
2007 Titles/Finals: Won (8): Australian Open, Paris [Indoors], Antwerp, Dubai, Wimbledon, San Diego, Moscow, Linz; R-Up (3): Miami, Toronto, New Haven