World No.1 Dinara Safina is the first player to qualify for the 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 to November 1. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will compete for the coveted season-ending title and a share of the record prize money of $4.45 million.
Safina will make her second appearance at the Sony Ericsson Championships, having qualified for the event last year. Safina is enjoying a spectacular 2009 season, winning three titles - Rome, Madrid and Portoroz - as well as becoming the 19th player in Tour history to attain the No.1 ranking, doing so on April 20 and not letting go of it since. Since becoming No.1, she is 34-4; her 16-match win streak between Rome and her runner-up finish at Roland Garros is the best so far this season. To date, Safina has won 12 Tour singles titles and is projected to pass the $9 million mark in career prize money earnings this year.
"Dinara has achieved great results this year and earned her spot as the first player to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour. "Dinara's impressive performance this year has included a terrific run that started in the spring and included winning three tournament titles and reaching the pinnacle of the sport as the world No.1 along the way."
"We congratulate Dinara on being the first player to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009. We look forward to building on the excitement of last year's tournament," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson.
"Qualifying for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships is one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year," Safina said. "I've accomplished a lot of milestones this season and am thrilled to be the first to qualify for the Championships. I look forward to returning to Doha and competing again for the Sony Ericsson Championships title."
Always at the forefront of innovation, Sony Ericsson 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 have 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, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Venus Williams. Cara Black and Liezel Huber, defending champions in doubles, currently lead in the Doubles Race to Doha, followed by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual.