Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka Qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009
09 Oct 2009
Current World No. 6 Venus Williams and World No. 7 Victoria Azarenka are the latest players to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009, in the singles competition. They will join Dinara Safina, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova who have previously qualified. The event that will be held in Doha, Qatar from the 27th of October – 1st of November will gather the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Season. The remarkable players will compete for the much desired Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the $4.45 million in prize money.

Venus’s first accomplishment during her 2009 season came when she teamed up with her sister at the Australian Open and won the doubles title, their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together. Then she went on to win the Dubai Tennis Championships and the week after the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, her 40th and 41st Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles titles. Venus and her sister teamed up again to win Wimbledon and the US Open doubles titles later during the season. The American native is a two – time Olympic Gold medalist and in 2005 won her fifth Wimbledon singles title Joining Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only ladies in the open – era to have won five or more championships. She is also two-time US Open winner.

"I am pleased to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships and I look forward to defending my title," she said. "Qualifying for the year-end tournament is always a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the season and I am excited to have an opportunity yet again to compete with the best players in the world."

Azarenka also had an amazing 2009 season winning her first title at the Brisbane International and the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Azarenka won her first Tier I or Premier Mandatory event final. The Belarusian player won 24 of her 26 matches of the season and cracked the top 10 after Indian Wells, reaching a carrer – high No.8 after Miami. She also reached her first two Grand Slam quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
"I am thrilled to have an opportunity to go to Doha for the Sony Ericsson Championships," Azarenka said. "Winning my first Tour title and reaching the Top 10 for the first time in my career has really made my year and I couldn't think of a better place to finish it than in Doha. Having an opportunity to travel to the year-end Championships is an accomplishment I am very proud of."

Also heading to Doha is the Australian duo of Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur, the fourth and final team to qualify for the doubles event at the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009. The exceptional players will join the doubles team of Cara Black/Liezel Huber, Venus Williams/Serena Williams and Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, all of whom have previously qualified.
“It’s a privilege to make it to the Sony Ericsson Championships,” said Stubbs. “I’ve qualified for the Championships many times with different partners, but this year it’s extra special to be playing in Doha with a fellow Australian.”
“We are really excited about clinching a spot at the Sony Ericsson Championships,” said Stosur.  “Rennae and I only teamed up at the beginning of the year and it’s been a very rewarding partnership so far as we’ve achieved a lot of great results, qualifying for Championships being the best one so far.”

Both players have found success with different partners, but together as a team Stubbs and Stosur have quickly built up solid results. Their exclusive partnership began at the start of the 2009 season and so far the Australians have reached the finals at Wimbledon, the AEGON International (Eastbourne) and the Rogers Cup (Toronto). They also reached the semifinals at the US Open, the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (Dubai) and the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (Madrid). It will be their first appearance as a team at a Sony Ericsson Championships.  

“We are very happy to know that Venus, Victoria and the doubles team of Stubbs and Stosur are among the top players in the world that will compete in this year’s edition of the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009. They all have had a stellar season and we welcome them to Doha”, said Mr. Nasser Ghanem Al Khelaifi, President of the Qatar Tennis Federation.

“With the addition of Venus, Victoria and the doubles team of Stubbs and Stosur to the Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009 I am sure we will witness a very powerful season ending. We are really thrilled to have them all competing in the event, congratulations”, said Mr. Karim Alami, Tournament Director.

The Sony Ericsson Championships is the most prestigious and important tournament in professional women's tennis. It is the final event in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, in which only the very best players in the world participate. Since 2008 Doha have hosted the event and it will keep carrying out this amazing challenge until 2010 before passing the flag to Istanbul, Turkey scheduled to host the event from 2011 - 2013.

The Championships were first played in 1972 and since then the event has become an international phenomenon generating an immense amount of media coverage, unrivalled by any other women's only sports event