ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Today, Argentina’s Gisela Dulko and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta became the first doubles team to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships – Doha 2010, set to take place for the third year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 26-31, and offering prize money of $4.45 million. Dulko and Pennetta will make their first trip to the prestigious Championships as a team after a successful season highlighted by winning five titles – more than any other team on Tour. It’s also the first time that both players qualified for the year-end Championships in either singles or doubles.
“It is very exciting to qualify for the WTA Championships. We are thrilled to play in the prestigious event for the first time in each of our careers and look forward to competing in Doha against the best doubles teams in the world,” said Dulko.
“I’m so happy to qualify for the year-end Championships with Gisela as we are close friends on and off the court and it is very special for us,” added Pennetta. “We have worked very hard this year and reaching the Championships is a perfect way to end the season.”
Dulko and Pennetta have played 13 tournaments together in 2010, winning five titles to take their career tally together to eight. Earlier this season, they compiled a 17-match winning streak – the longest on Tour since March 2007 (when Cara Black and Liezel Huber won 22), which garnered three consecutive Premier-level titles at the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome) and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart). Their run was finally stopped by Serena and Venus Williams at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (Madrid), where Dulko and Pennetta finished as runners-up.
The second half of the season has been highlighted by two additional titles – the Rogers Cup (Montreal) and the Collector Swedish Open (Bastad). Dulko and Pennetta also recorded strong Grand Slam results this year, reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the US Open. Dulko and Pennetta have amassed an impressive 40-8 record as a team so far this season. Dulko also won a sixth doubles title this year, collecting the Copa BBVA Colsanitas (Bogota) with Edina Gallovits.
“I congratulate Gisela and Flavia on qualifying for the WTA Championships for the first time in their careers,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA. “They are an exciting and charismatic team and have worked incredibly hard to become the most consistent doubles champions during 2010. Gisela and Flavia will make a great addition to the doubles roster during the WTA’s season finale in Qatar and it’s great that the fans will be able to watch them compete with the best doubles teams on Tour.”