It's Nearly Showtime
DOHA, Qatar - The singles competitors in the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2008 began to arrive mid-week, and with the Williams sisters - Serena and Venus - touching down in the Qatari capital on Saturday night, all is almost in readiness for one of the most hotly contested season-ending events in recent memory.
Four Russian players crowd the eight-woman field, with Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina all here already ahead of Tuesday's kick-off of round-robin play.
Serbians Ana Ivanovic, who rose to No.1 after her Roland Garros triumph in June, and Jelena Jankovic, who will end 2008 in that coveted position, round out the field and look set to provide even more drama to a memorable Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season.
Two singles alternates will also be in Doha next week - should any of the elite eight be unable to compete - with Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska capping a breakthrough season as the first alternate. Russian star Nadia Petrova earned the second alternate spot after reaching the semifinals of the Bell Challenge in Quebec City.
With the knockout doubles competition set to get underway next Saturday, the four qualifying doubles teams - Black/Huber, Medina/Ruano, Peschke/Stubbs and Srebotnik/Sugiyama - will begin arriving in the coming days.