Williams leads next round of qualifications for TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul

NEW YORK, NY, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today that Serena Williams and the doubles teams of Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond have qualified for this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, which will be staged at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The WTA’s year-end finale, to be held from October 23-28, will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams, competing for the coveted title and a share of $4.9 million in prize money.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a golden career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her 5th Wimbledon and 4th US Open titles. Serena’s love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world.”

 

“Andrea and Lucie’s outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, in addition to winning a silver medal at the Olympics. It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-No.1s on top of the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back in Istanbul to defend their title.”

 

Serena Williams

 

This season Williams has added more highlights to her resume, including winning two gold medals at the Olympics to achieve a career golden Grand Slam in singles and doubles, securing her 14th and 15th Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and surpassing sister Venus for the most titles won by an active player (45).

 

The 30-year-old has compiled a 53-4 record this season and a tour-leading six titles, bolstering her Wimbledon, Olympics and US Open victories with wins at the Family Circle Cup (Charleston), Mutua Madrid Open and Bank of the West Classic (Stanford). She is undefeated against Top 5 opponents this year (10-0), and with her tally of 15 wins, only one player can boast more defeats over World No.1 players (Navratilova, 18; equal with Davenport, 15).

 

Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships on nine occasions during her career, and is set to compete for the first time since 2009. The American is a two-time champion at the event – receiving a walkover in the 2001 final against Davenport, and defeating sister Venus in 2009 – in addition to reaching the final in 2002 (runner-up to Clijsters) and 2004 (runner-up to Sharapova in three sets).

 

Click on the link to hear Serena’s thoughts on her season and qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul: http://youtu.be/D-xgx4R9gvg

 

Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka

 

“It is such an unbelievable feeling to have qualified for the WTA Championships,” said Hradecka. “I watched the matches last year, and Petra Kvitova told us how amazing the tournament was, so we are really looking forward to it.”

 

“When we were planning our goals at the start of the year, our focus was really on the Olympics, but as the results started to come, we began to think it might be possible to qualify for Istanbul,” said Hlavackova. “It’s great that we’ll be playing indoors on a fast surface, and we’re going to have some fun and make the most of the week.”

 

The Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka has advanced to seven finals so far this season, winning titles at ASB Classic (Auckland), Memphis International, and Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati), in addition to finishing runners-up at Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.

 

First teaming together in 2008 they have collected eight titles, including last year’s Roland Garros, and in doing so became the first all-Czech pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles title since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova won Wimbledon in 1990. Both players will be making their WTA Championships debut, and will follow in the footsteps of Novotna/Sukova who were the last Czech team to contest the WTA Championships, also in 1990.

 

Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond

 

“One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships,” said Huber. “Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again in October. The doubles competition there will be tough and I’m sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year.”

 

“I’m thrilled to qualify for my twelfth WTA Championships and am looking forward to ending the year hopefully on a high note in Turkey!” said Raymond.

 

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are two of the WTA’s most decorated doubles players. This season they have reached eight finals and captured five titles: Open GDF SUEZ (Paris [Indoors]), Qatar Total Open (Doha), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and New Haven Open at Yale.

 

Between them, Huber and Raymond own 132 doubles titles, including 11 Grand Slams and 7 Championships, including last year in Istanbul. Huber has spent 199 weeks at the top of the WTA’s doubles rankings – behind only Navratilova’s 237 weeks – while at 39 years of age, Raymond is the oldest player ever to hold the WTA No.1 ranking in singles or doubles.

 

Huber will be making her sixth appearance at the year-end finale. The 36-year-old is a three-time winner of the WTA Championships, having won in 2007-08 with Cara Black, and last year with Raymond. This will be 39-year-old Raymond’s 12th journey to the event, having first qualified in 1994. Including last year’s victory, she has won the title four times; also in 2001 with Rennae Stubbs, and 2005-06 with Samantha Stosur.

 

These players join the already-qualified Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Five singles and one doubles spot remains open for this year’s player field.

 

RACE TO THE TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS-ISTANBUL

(players/teams in bold already qualified)

PLAYER

POINTS

  TEAM

POINTS

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

8686

  Errani / Vinci

10097

Maria Sharapova

8190

  Hlavackova / Hradecka

7100

Serena Williams (USA)

7900

  Huber / Raymond

7036

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

6296

  Kirilenko / Petrova

4555

Petra Kvitova (CZE)

5310

 

Llaogstera Vives / Martinez Sanchez

3737

Angelique Kerber (GER)

5080

  Kops-Jones / Spears

3143

Sara Errani (ITA)

4820

 

Li Na (CHN)

4152

 

Samantha Stosur (AUS)

3571

Marion Bartoli (FRA)

3345

 

 

 

Tickets for the 2012 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships–Istanbul, as well as info about the event, are available for purchase through Biletix – either online at www.biletix.com or at Biletix ticket counters in Turkey.

 

Follow all the latest news about the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul on www.wtachampionships.com, www.facebook.com/WTA, and www.twitter.com/WTA using #WTAChamps.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Eloise Tyson, WTA, +44.207.386.4100, etyson@wtatennis.com

Feray Akşit Güney, TEB, +90.216.635.6487, feray.aksitguney@teb.com.tr

Elodie Verbeke, BNP Paribas global sponsorship, +33632300396, elodie.verbeke@bnpparibas.com

Hatem Vural, Accord PR, +902122754710, hvural@accord-pr.com

 


 

About BNP Paribas:

BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is one of the strongest banks in the world*. The Group has a presence in more than 80 countries and more than 200,000 employees, including more than 160,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its three core activities: Retail Banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across the Europe-Mediterranean zone and boasts a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia.

* Rated AA by Standard & Poor’s i.e. 3rd rating level on a scale of 22.

 

About Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB):

Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB), a reputable and prestigious institution in the Turkish banking sector, was established in 1927. Since its establishment, TEB, with its expanded network of branches and a diversified range of products and services, pursues operating in various fields of the banking sector as investment, leasing, factoring and portfolio management. In February 2005, BNP Paribas, one of the top 10 most important banks in the world and the largest in the Euro zone, operating in 83 countries, became a partner of TEB which went public in February 2000. In the wake of its strategic partnership with the BNP Paribas, Türk Ekonomi Bankası carries its expertise in foreign trade, corporate, commercial and private banking over into the fields of retail banking and banking for small and medium-sized businesses. Today TEB is one of the major players of the Turkish Financial Services Market with consolidated asset size of 40.5 billion TL and more than 9.000 employees.

 

About BNP Paribas and Tennis:  

Long-standing partner to the sport of tennis since 1973, BNP Paribas is actively involved in the game at both local and international level, and in club, schools and social tennis as well as professional events. BNP Paribas has gradually become the number one sponsor in world tennis: official sponsor of Roland Garros since 1973 and sponsor of five ATP Masters 1000 events – the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, Monte Carlo Masters since 2005, Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome since 2006, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells since 2009 and the Shanghai Masters since 2010. The Group is also title sponsor of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001 and the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, as well as being actively involved in many other international competitions including the Bank of the West Classic in California, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, the Open 13 in Marseille and the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York. BNP Paribas is also an official partner of International Wheelchair Tennis, such as the the “BNP Paribas World Team Cup”. Through its support for more than 20 national tennis associations, 2000 clubs, 550 amateur tournaments, plus schools and social programs around the world, BNP Paribas helps to promote tennis and encourage widespread participation in the game. The Group’s commitment to social values is reflected in the sports sponsorships it has undertaken in numerous projects, including Yannick Noah’s ‘Fête le Mur’ Association and the tennis Téléthon in France, the Oberer Tennis Camp in Switzerland and the BNP Paribas ‘Taste of Tennis’ in the United States. As part of its creative sports sponsorship policy, BNP Paribas has launched a website “www.wearetennis.com” entirely dedicated to tennis news.  The Group’s new sponsorship slogan ‘We are tennis’ underlines the fact that BNP Paribas promotes tennis for all, at all levels.

Serena Williams Steamrolls the Competition

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams has been playing some of the best tennis of her career over the last three months. Williams won Wimbledon in July and a few weeks later won the gold medal in Women’s Singles at the 2012 London Olympics. She also added Women’s Double’s gold with her older sister Venus. Next up for Serena was the US Open.

Through the first four rounds of the 2012 US Open, Williams has defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1, 6-1, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-2, 6-4, Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 6-0, and Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0. Serena has won an incredible 20 straight games, and is the favorite going into the round of eight.

When asked what her play through the first four rounds means, Serena responded “it says I’m focused.” Serena, always critical of her game, said “I feel like today I am getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions…I like to play better during the second week.” Fitting, because the best players are the only ones playing in the second week and Serena is not only one of the best of this era, but of all time.

Not everything has gone perfect for Serena, as she and older sister Venus were defeated Monday night in Doubles by Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Venus also lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber in front of a boisterous crowd that included actress Vivica Fox. With the singles and doubles losses, Venus Williams is now done for the 2012 US Open, but don’t be surprised if she hangs around to see her younger sister play.

Serena, who is 30-years old, and Sloane Stephens, 19, who has been compared to Serena on the court, have forged a friendship recently that is somewhat of a mentor/mentee relationship. But you would be surprised at who plays what role. “I think she’s more my mentor than anything,” Williams said in an interview after her win over Vandeweghe in the first round. Serena had some more compliments of Stephens on and off the court. “I think she’s an amazing player. She’s playing so smooth. She looks like she gives no effort when she plays.”

Serena continued to talk about Sloane’s on-court performance, adding “I hope I can teach her some things, and hopefully she’s able to do it. I think that we can kind of feed off each other. She can teach me some things, maybe how to be calm on the court.”

Off the court, Serena had even more praise. “I think she’s a great person. She’s always encouraging me not to be single,” Serena said with a smile. Williams was later asked if she thinks Sloane has the potential to be the next superstar on and off the tennis court. “I think she has a great smile, a beautiful face. I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So yeah, I think it’s totally possible.”

Earlier in the day, after her first-round, upset win over Francesca Schiavone, Stephens was asked some questions about Serena as well. “We’re really good friends. We just have a really good relationship. I felt like I knew her in a past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange” Sloane said.

One thing that makes Serena Williams so great is her confidence. When asked if she believes in her heart if she is the best player in the game, she responded “Of course I believe that. I think there are a number of players on this tour, a few players who believe that. I don’t think we would be playing if we didn’t believe that.”

Perhaps some of Serena’s confidence has rubbed off on Sloane. When asked if Sloane Stephens will be to be the next superstar in tennis, she simply, and confidently, replied “She is.” With a winning smile, a great personality and confidence to match, many are hoping that Sloane Stephens is the next superstar in the tennis world, and with a mentor like Serena Williams, she is well on her way.

Serena Williams will face Ana Ivanovic Wednesday (rain permitting) for a chance to go to the semifinals of the US Open Wednesday. Ivanovic defeated Stephens in the third round for the second year in a row, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, and Stephens will definitely be cheering her mentor on.

Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters Qualify For WTA Championships

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Today, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters became the third and fourth singles players 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.  Williams and Clijsters join Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and the doubles teams of Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta and Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik who qualified earlier. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the coveted WTA Championships title and a share of the $4.5 million in prize money.

“I congratulate both Serena and Kim for qualifying for the WTA Championships and am glad that fans all over the world will have the opportunity to watch these two incredible players compete for the coveted title in Doha,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

SERENA WILLIAMS:

World No.1 Serena Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships for the seventh time in her career and is headed to Doha as the defending champion, having defeated sister Venus in the 2009 final.  In her career, Serena has held the World No.1 ranking for 122 weeks (6th all-time), including all of 2010 season to date.  Serena enjoyed a successful start to the 2010 season, capturing her 12th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, in addition to taking home the doubles trophy with Venus.  At Roland Garros, she reached the quarterfinals (l. to Stosur) and also won the doubles title with Venus. She then went on to capture her 13th Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon two weeks later, passing Billie Jean King’s career number of Grand Slams singles title wins.

In addition to her success at the Grand Slams, Serena reached the final of the Medibank International (Sydney, l. to Dementieva) and the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome, l. to Jankovic).

KIM CLIJSTERS:

“A year into my comeback, making the WTA Championships is a great achievement to me. It’s certainly a personal highlight and goal of mine,” said World No.5 Clijsters.  “I’ve never been to Doha so it will be exciting to travel there as it’s a place I’d like to see and learn about.”

Just one year since making a comeback to the sport after a two-year hiatus, Kim Clijsters is the fourth player to qualify for the WTA Championships and will attempt to win her third year-end title, having previously captured the trophy in 2002 and 2003.  This year marks Clijsters’ seventh year-end Championships appearance, the first since 2006.

Clijsters has had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open title, and reaching her “second-career” highest ranking of World No.3 on August 23, 2010.  Clijsters has an impressive 36-6 win-loss record this year and has reached the quarterfinals or better seven times in 10 tournaments played.  In 2010, Clijsters has won four tournaments – the Brisbane International (Brisbane), the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open (Cincinnati), in addition to defending her title at the US Open.

RACE TO THE WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – DOHA 2010 (as of the week of September 27, 2010)

SINGLES DOUBLES
PLAYER POINTS RACE STANDING TEAM POINTS RACE STANDING
Caroline Wozniacki** 5615 1 Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta** 7186 1
Serena Williams** 5355 2 Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik** 5921 2
Kim Clijsters** 5295 3 Serena Williams/Venus Williams 5500 3
Vera Zvonareva** 5173 4 Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs 4704 4
Venus Williams 4985 5 Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova 4527 5
Samantha Stosur 4567 6 Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3676 6
Jelena Jankovic 4033 7
Francesca Schiavone 3952 8
Justine Henin 3415 9
Elena Dementieva 3327 10
Victoria Azarenka 3196 11
Li Na 3091 12
Shahar Peer 2965 13
Agnieszka Radwanska 2831 14

** Denotes player/team has already qualified

Serena Continues Legacy in Oz

[CHICAGO] – Each and every time Serena Williams reaches the semi-finals of the Australian Open, she goes on to win the title. This first Grand Slam of 2010 was no exception. Williams dominated this all Wilson final, putting an end to the amazing return of former #1, Justine Henin.

With her [K] Blade Team racket, the 12 time Grand Slam champion held strong throughout the entire tournament despite being injured. The final match was all about Serena’s well known power game as she defeated Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Fans knew they were watching a great champion doing what she does best. Serena pushed through her injury and played like a true champion, running down every ball and leaving it all on the court.

“It feels incredible to defend my title here in Melbourne,” Serena said after winning against Henin. “Justine is a great competitor but I knew this was my time to shine and gave it everything I had.”

This was Williams’ fifth Australian Open title and she is the first woman in the Open Era to win five Australian Open titles. She is also the first to win back-to-back Australian Opens since Jennifer Capriati in 2002.

Before winning her singles championship, Serena defended the doubles title with her sister Venus and their [K] Blade Team rackets. The sisters rolled over the world’s top-ranked women’s doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in two sets 6-4, 6-3. It’s their fourth Australian Open title together; part of their collection of an astonishing eleven Grand Slam women’s doubles championships.

“It is just great to continue this success with Serena,” said Venus after winning her doubles title. “We know each other’s game so well– we’re the perfect match.”

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Serena Apologized, Now Let’s Move On

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Over the weekend I wrote that Serena Williams has a chance today to do the right thing and apologize about her actions on Saturday night.

And today she did just that.

“I wanted to apologize first to the lineswoman, to the USTA, and my fans most of all, and to Kim Clijsters who ended up having such a wonderful tournament and winning the championship, and what an amazing feat that was,” Williams said after she and her sister Venus beat the team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber for the Woman’s Doubles Championship, 6-2, 6-2. “I just really wanted to apologize sincerely, because I’m a very prideful person and I’m a very intense person and a very emotional person. I think it all showed.

“Most of all, I’m a very sincere person. I wanted to offer my sincere apologies to anyone that I may have offended. I would again like to thank the fans for all the support that I’ve gotten. I think it’s awesome and cool that I’ve got so much support. I appreciate everything.”

Because she apologized, Serena will find out that America is a very forgiving country. Baseball players like Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi were more or less exonerated for their steroids uses because they said they were sorry. And those like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who still live the lie, are having problems.

Serena, though, didn’t take any drugs, didn’t shoot herself with a gun she smuggled into a club, nor did she have dog fight each other. No she lost her temper, much like the way John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and even Andre Agassi have done in the past.

In baseball, actions like that are cheered. Yet not in tennis, which is more civilized, especially on the ladies side.

“I don’t really follow too much baseball,” Serena said. “I think every athlete is really intense.”

So now tennis needs to get out of its own way and move on from this ugly incident. Williams lost the singles title, partially due to her actions and of course her poor play, which caused the incident. Rather than having a tremendous investigation, the WTA needs to let the fine stand and consider the situation closed.

As for Serena, let’s see if she learned her lesson. In the future, will she think twice if she foot faults again? Well her tune changed about the lineswoman.

“I don’t think my foot touched the line in that call,” she said. “Looking back on it, I think the lady did the best that she could. She was just doing her job. I guess at the time, she probably saw it as what it was. You know, she was just doing her best.”

And that’s all anyone is looking for – their best. On Saturday, Serena was wrong for threatening the lineswoman, today she said she was sorry.

Serena paid her fine and seems like she knows she did wrong.

Now its time to move on.