Black, Huber Qualify For Doha
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA The doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber is the first to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in the Qatari capital, November 4-9, 2008. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season compete for the Championships title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.
The Zimbabwean-American pair is first in the doubles Race to the Championships with 4,392 points, a striking 2,109 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain. Thus far in the 2008 season, Black and Huber have won seven Tour doubles titles - at Antwerp, Dubai, Berlin, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Stanford and Montréal. The successful duo has won 19 career titles as a team, including 2005 and 2007 Wimbledon, 2007 Australian Open, and the 2007 Championships.
"We're very excited to be the first doubles team to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships," Black said. "We've had a great year so far and look forward to finishing the season in Doha and defending our Championships title."
Black, the current co-No.1 on the Tour Doubles Rankings along with Huber, has won 43 career Tour doubles titles, including four Grand Slam titles (three at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open) and over $4.75 million in career prize money. She became the world's top-ranked doubles player in 2005, the year she and Huber teamed up for a striking run which included their first Wimbledon title.
Huber said: "We're of course very happy to be the first to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships. The Championships are a perfect ending to a hard-fought season and we are excited to play this year in Doha."
Huber has won 31 career Tour doubles titles and earned over $2.8 million in prize money. Playing doubles exclusively since 2004, Huber celebrated her career-first Tour doubles title at the Tokyo Princess Cup in 2001 and her first Grand Slam title at 2005 Wimbledon, both with Black. The pair was awarded the Tour's "Doubles Team of the Year" (for 2007 achievements); in addition, Huber was awarded the Tour's "Player Service Award" in 2008 recognizing her charitable work helping victims of the Hurricane Katrina.
"Both Cara and Liezel have repeatedly demonstrated that they are on great form this season, so it came as no surprise that they are the first doubles team to qualify for the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson. "We are delighted to have these top players compete at this end-of-season tournament and are sure that their considerable talent will mean that the audience are going to be treated to a truly exciting event."
The race for the three remaining doubles spots in the Championships is closer than ever. Roland Garros champions Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual are currently in second place with 2,283 points; the current third- and fourth-placed teams are the Ukrainian sisters and Australian Open Champions, Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko with 2,206 points and Chuang Chia-Jung and Chan Yung-Jan of Chinese Taipei with 2,194 points only 33 points ahead of the Czech-Australian team of Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs with 2,161 points.
Sony Ericsson is committed to bringing entertainment, innovation and glamour to tennis by creating unique sporting events as the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. This tournament will bring the excitement of the game to a new audience, with the city of Doha set to benefit from the biggest tennis event ever to be held in the region. Sony Ericsson strives to energize the fan experience at the Championships, by bringing them closer to tennis through the integration of innovation and technology, to deliver the best possible sports experience.
The Championships were first played in 1972 and since then the event has been held in such notable venues as Madison Square Garden, New York City, the Olympiahalle in Munich, Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the Recinto Ferial Casa de Campo in Madrid. Former singles champions include Tracy Austin, Kim Clijsters, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams and Justine Henin.