Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic are the first players to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships.
The season ending tournament will take place at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from November 4-9, 2008.
The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the Championships title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.
Jelena and Ana are currently in first and second place in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships. Jelena have earned 2,770 points and Ana,761 points.
For Jelena, the current world No.2 and first in Race list, this will be her second qualification for the prestigious year-end event. Jelena, who has won six career Tour singles titles, is projected to pass the $5-million mark in career prize money at the Rogers Cup in Montréal.
Thus far in 2008, she successfully defended her title at Rome, finished as runner-up at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Barclays Dubai Championships in Dubai, the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Roland Garros in Paris and most recently the East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife in Los Angeles.
"Qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships is always one of the important goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year,"
Jankovic said. "Naturally I am proud to have achieved it at this early stage of the year. I look forward to competing in Doha and hope to do really well out there."
Ivanovic became the 17th No.1 ranked player in Tour history in June of this year after capturing her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. She also won the title at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, finished runner-up at the Australian Open, and reached the semifinals at the Medibank International in Sydney as well as the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin. She was awarded the Tour’s “Most Improved Player” earlier this year (for 2007 achievements).
"I am proud to have already qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships,"
Ivanovic said. "This season has been a great year for me as I achieved two of my life's goals by winning my first Grand Slam and reaching No.1. To win the tournament in Doha would be the perfect end to a season I'll never forget."
"Jelena and Ana are amazing athletes and champions, both on and off the court,”
said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "Both players are fan favorites who have had fantastic results in 2008 and earned their spots in the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, which promises to be one of the most exciting season-ending finales in Tour history."
"The Sony Ericsson Championships will be an exciting finale to what has been a fantastic year for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour,"
said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson. "We are delighted to see that two of this season's most successful players are the first to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships. Both Ana and Jelena have worked hard to secure their place in this tournament, and both are great ambassadors for the sport and the continuing effort to drive women's tennis forward."
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 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. Cara Black and Liezel Huber, defending champions in doubles, lead in the Doubles Race with 3962 points, followed by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.
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(source Sony Ericsson WTA Tour)