The 2011 WTA Finals draw ceremony was held at 7pm on Sunday 23 October in Istanbul, Turkey at the Sinan Erdem Dome. In the 2011 WTA Finals four of the Top 8 also made the Top 8 in 2010 – Caroline WOZNIACKI, Victoria AZARENKA, Vera ZVONAREVA and Samantha STOSUR. To watch the tennis in Singapore you need to tune at 10pm for the 5pm start each day in Istanbul.
In 2010 Kim CLIJSTERS, Francesca SCHIAVONE, Jelena JANKOVIC and the retired Elena DEMENTIEVA made up the Top 8. The four additions in 2011 are Maria SHARAPOVA, Petra KVITOVA, LI Na and Agnieszka RADWANSKA. In fact, Clijsters who won the 2011 Australian Open by coming back to win in three sets against Li Na in the final, won the 2010 WTA Finals but was unable to qualify this year to defend her 2010 ranking points.
Due to title sponsorship naming rights the official name is the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships. This tournament runs from Tuesday 25 October through to Women’s Singles Final Day on Sunday 30 October. Only the Top 8 best performed players for the 2011 season qualify to play-off in this tournament. In no other tournament are you required to beat at least four if not five of the world’s Top 8 ranked players to win the title!
In the first 4 days of this 6-day tournament each of the 8 women will play against all 3 members of her group. Throughout the round robin matches the world’s best women try to achieve a place in the semi-finals by finishing in the Top 2 spots in their own group. On Day 5 the semi-finals are held where the players who finish at No.1 in their group play the player who finishes No.2 in the other group.
This event begins in a round robin format with 2 groups of 4 players, a white group and a red group. The colour that is assigned to each group is chosen according to the colours of the Turkish National flag. In 2011 Marion BARTOLI finished the year ranked at No.9 so is the first alternate should any player have to withdraw with an injury. The current World No.10 is Andrea PETKOVIC after having her best year in professional tennis thus, is the second alternate.
Pictured above is triple Grand Slam singles champion Maria SHARAPOVA in the very early stages of her powerful service motion during the 2011 Miami Open. The 24-year-old Sharapova is having her best year out of the past four years and has a chance to clinch the World No.1 ranking at the WTA Finals if she can win the title.
The 1.88m Sharapova first achieved her career-high ranking of No.1 on 22 August 2005. In 2011 the Russian made her first Grand Slam singles final since winning the 2008 Australian Open before succumbing to Petra Kvitova in the Championship match. The former Wimbledon and US Open singles champion has won two WTA major tournaments this year at the Rome and Cincinnati Open’s and was the runner-up in another major at the Miami Open.
The seeding was done according to the WTA rankings as at Monday 24 October in 2011. The seeding is:
- Caroline WOZNIACKI
- Maria SHARAPOVA
- Petra KVITOVA
- Victoria AZARENKA
- LI Na
- Vera ZVONAREVA
- Samantha STOSUR
- Agnieszka RADWANSKA
The red group is:
- (1) Wozniacki
- (3) Kvitova
- (6) Zvonareva
- (8) Radwanska
The white group is:
- (2) Sharapova
- (4) Azarenka
- (5) Li
- (7) Stosur
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© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2011
photo credit: Mark Howard Photography