Doubles Field Locked In
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA The two doubles pairings of Kveta Peschke (CZE) and Rennae Stubbs (AUS), followed by Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) and Ai Sugiyama (JPN) are the third and fourth doubles teams to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships, set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, November 4-9, 2008. This completes the doubles line-up for the $4.45 million year-end event.
With their recent quarterfinal win at the Generali Ladies Linz, the Peschke/Stubbs team joins the previously qualified teams of Cara Black/Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual with a chance to win the season-ending doubles event. Srebotnik and Sugiyama qualified by virtue of their dramatic title run at Generali Ladies Linz this past weekend.
For Peschke and Stubbs, the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha marks their second consecutive appearance together as a team at the prestigious season finale. This year, they have won the Qatar Total Open in Doha and finished runner-up at the International Women's Open in Eastbourne; other highlights include semifinal appearances at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin and the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal.
"Every year it's a privilege to make it to the Sony Ericsson Championships and to have accumulated enough points to be one of the best teams in the world," said Rennae Stubbs. "Kveta and I have had an up and down year as far as tournament victories. We've only got one, a Tier I in Doha, so maybe that's a good omen for us. It's been a long year with the Olympics and different events that we've been playing, so we're just proud to once again make it as a team. Every year we've played together we've made to this great event. We're proud of each other, we get along as friends and we'll be making it our goal to try and win the Championships."
"I'm very happy that we made it again this year," said Kveta Peschke. "It was a really tough year for us and we're happy that somehow other teams didn't play as well as we did! We made the semis at the Generali Ladies Linz and with that result we qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships and we are really looking forward to it. This year, being outdoors in Doha, is going to be different from Madrid, so we'll make sure to get on-site earlier and get used to the conditions so we are ready to show our best tennis."
Prior to joining forces both Peschke and Stubbs had enjoyed tremendous doubles success with more than 60 titles between them. Stubbs is making her 13th appearance in the year-end Championships, the most of any active player and behind only Martina Navratilova (16) and Pam Shriver (14). She won the title in 2001 with Lisa Raymond and finished runner-up in 2004-2006 with Cara Black whereas Peschke is making her third consecutive appearance after her Championships debut in 2006 with Francesca Schiavone.
Srebotnik and Sugiyama sealed the remaining qualification spot with their 64 75 victory over the World No 1 doubles team of Black/Huber in the final of Generali Ladies Linz. It was their third Tour doubles title of the year together, having won Tier I titles at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and the Family Circle Cup at Charleston in the spring. This is also the second year in succession the pairing has qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships.
"It's very special for us to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships by winning the tournament in Linz," said Katarina Srebotnik. "We have really earned our ticket to Doha and we will go there with some confidence after beating two of the other qualifiers this week. Ai is a great partner and we are looking forward to being back at the Championships where we can hopefully top our runner-up finish of last year."
"It feels great to know that we have qualified for Doha," said Ai Sugiyama. "When we went to Linz we knew we had a lot of pressure. We had to win the tournament to make sure we would qualify so yes, I'm really happy Katarina and I played well in Linz and have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships the second time in a row and I'm sure it will be a great experience."
Both are accomplished and experienced doubles players, Srebotnik now has 20 Tour doubles titles to her name, while Sugiyama has 37.
"The doubles field at this year's Sony Ericsson Championships is probably one of the strongest in the history of this event. I'm sure fans will be captivated by the intensity, excitement and entertainment factor the world's best doubles teams will showcase in Doha," said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
"We're pleased to have two of the most talented doubles teams in the game competing in the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson. "It's been a truly fantastic year for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and players like Kveta Peschke, Rennae Stubbs, Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama ensure that the end-of-season tournament remains one of the best events on the sporting calendar."
Sony Ericsson is committed to bringing entertainment, innovation and glamour to tennis by creating unique sporting events such as the 2008 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.