Serena, Safina Locked In For Doha
DOHA, Qatar - Serena Williams and Dinara Safina have clinched their spots for the Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, November 4-9, 2008. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2008 season will compete for the title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.
Williams, who won the Sony Ericsson Championships in 2001, and Safina, who will be making her debut in the eight woman field, join previously qualified Serbs Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic in the singles line-up. After the US Open Williams will have at least 3,130 points, while Safina will have at least 3,123 points in the Race to the Championships standings.
"I'm delighted to have qualified again for the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Williams, who will make her eighth career appearance at the season-ending event. "It's always an honor to play at the year-end Championships, and I'm looking forward to playing in Doha where I can hopefully show my best tennis."
This season, the 26-year-old American megastar has won three singles titles (Bangalore, Miami, Charleston) and was runner-up once (Wimbledon). She has reached the quarterfinals or better at 10 of 11 tournaments played this year, including the US Open (her only pre-quarterfinal loss came at Roland Garros).
"I'm really happy about qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships," Safina said. "I think this is the goal for every player, to reach the Championships at the end of the year, and finally my dream has come true."
Safina has had her best season to date, beginning the year with an 11-10 record but going 37-4 since the beginning of the European clay court season, which includes her five match wins in reaching the US Open semifinals. During this phenomenal stretch she has won three titles (Berlin, Los Angeles, Montréal) and finished runner-up three times (Roland Garros, 's-Hertogenbosch, Olympics). Her only pre-final loss in her last seven tournaments came at Wimbledon.
"I'm delighted that Serena and Dinara have both qualified for this year's Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha," said Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Tour. "Dinara has had a fantastic run this year and absolutely deserves a spot in her first Sony Ericsson Championships. Serena is without doubt a true global icon and displaying wonderful tennis this season. Having both players showcase their talent in Doha will be great for tennis fans around the world."
"We're very pleased to see that Dinara and Serena have both qualified for the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson. "They are top players and their considerable talent makes them fantastic ambassadors for women's tennis. We're sure they will make the season finale one of the most exciting yet."
Sony Ericsson is committed to bringing entertainment, innovation and glamour to the tennis world by creating unique sporting events like the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. This tournament will bring the excitement of the game to a new audience, with 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. Cara Black and Liezel Huber, defending champions in doubles, lead in the Doubles Race with 3962 points, followed by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.