The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour world No.1 doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber has become the first team to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009, set to take place for the second year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 27 - November 1, 2009.
Black and Huber will make their third trip to the prestigious Championships as a team and will attempt to win the Sony Ericsson Championships trophy for the third year in a row, having previously clinched the title in 2007 and 2008. Black and Huber will join world No.1 Dinara Safina and world No.2 Serena Williams who have already clinched spots in the singles competition in Doha.
The world's top eight singles players and top four doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the coveted Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the record Championships prize money of $4.55 million.
"We're very excited to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships," said Black, the 30-year-old Zimbabwean. "It's been a good season and we've been able to accomplish some great results, but winning the Championships is a major goal and Liezel and I look forward to going to Doha and attempting to win our third Championships title."
"It's been a great season for us," added 33-year-old American Huber. "We're proud to have won five titles this year and look forward to going to the Sony Ericsson Championships next month to compete with the best players in the world and defend our Championships crown. I've been looking at photographs of us winning the Championships the last two years and Cara and I are hoping to relive the incredible memories this year."
"Cara and Liezel have achieved great results this year and have been impressive and consistent as a team for three years in a row on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, an astonishing feat in itself," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. "I congratulate Cara and Liezel on qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships and look forward to seeing if they can again emerge again as champions of the Tour's prestigious season finale."
"We congratulate Cara and Liezel on the tremendous achievement of qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships for the third year in a row and look forward to having an exciting Tour finale in Doha," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson.
Black and Huber, ranked world No.1 since November 12, 2007 as a team, have had a stellar 2009 season, winning five titles along the way, four of them Premier Tour events - Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (Dubai), Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (Madrid), Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open (Cincinnati), and Open GDF SUEZ (Paris Indoors), in addition to International Tour event AEGON Classic in Birmingham. Additionally, they've reached five semifinals, including Roland Garros and Wimbledon, losing to the eventual champions in both instances.
The duo is only the second doubles team to finish a season as the joint world No.1-ranked players (2007 and 2008). They are also only the fourth doubles pair to jointly hold the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour No.1 doubles ranking since its inception in 1984. Their 27 career titles together include four Grand Slams and two Sony Ericsson Championships.
Black and Huber first teamed up on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2001, winning their very first tournament at the Princess Cup in Tokyo before playing sporadically until the start of 2005. Shortly after, they won the Rome title, reached the final of Roland Garros and won Wimbledon (their third tournament victory) before Huber suffered a severe ACL injury which later required surgery, bringing their season to a premature end.
The two reunited at the start of the 2007 season and achieved the World No.1 ranking in November 2007, which they have not relinquished since. Black has spent the second most weeks in the history of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as the world No.1 doubles player, trailing only Martina Navratilova. Black will be making her tenth consecutive appearance at the year-end Championships while Huber will be making her fourth Championships appearance.
Sony Ericsson, one of the largest global mobile phone manufacturers known for style and innovation, is committed to bringing entertainment and glamour to tennis, and taking the sport to new places and new audiences. Sony Ericsson's style and technology has attracted a wider interest to women's tennis and provided unique opportunities to the stars of the Tour.
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 Cawley, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Venus Williams.