ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - Svetlana Kuznetsova and the doubles team of Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez have secured spots at the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009, set to take place for the second year at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 27 to November 1. The fifth singles player to qualify, Kuznetsova will make her fifth appearance at the event, while the team of Llagostera Vives and Martínez Sánchez will make their debut. The world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season will play for the coveted season-ending title and a share of $4.55 million prize money.
"I am really excited to have qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009," Kuznetsova said. "In the last year I've worked really hard on my game and fitness and I am proud of the season I've had. I look forward to competing with the best tennis players in the world in Doha."
Kuznetsova's season has been highlighted by winning her second Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, also capturing the Premier-level title in Stuttgart, beating world No.1 Dinara Safina in both finals. She follows Safina, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva into the elite field.
"It's been a great season for us," Llagostera Vives said. "We are very proud of the level of tennis we've played as a team all season and are thrilled to be going to the Sony Ericsson Championships for the first time in our career."
Added Martínez Sánchez: "It's an unbelievable feeling to qualify for the Sony Ericson Championships and celebrate the great year Nuria and I have had as a team. We look forward to challenging the best doubles teams in the world for the Championships title."
Llagostera Vives and Martínez Sánchez have won more doubles titles than any other team on the Tour this year, clinching six: Bogotá, Acapulco, Barcelona, Palermo, Toronto and New Haven. They both have 11 career Tour doubles titles; Martínez Sánchez has seven with Llagostera Vives and four with Anabel Medina Garrigues, while Llagostera Vives' four others are with four different partners. The Spaniards started playing together periodically in 2002, but didn't play extensively until 2008, and finally exclusively this year.
"Svetlana has had a fantastic season and has earned her place at the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009, having won some of the biggest events on Tour this year," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Tour. "Nuria and María José's doubles results speak for themselves and I am delighted that they will be headed to Doha and congratulate them on all of their success this season. I wish Svetlana, Nuria and María José a lot of luck."
"We congratulate Svetlana, Nuria and María José on qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR for Sony Ericsson. "Nuria and María José had a breakthrough season, winning more titles than any other team on Tour, and Svetlana has once again had a consistent and successful season. Having all three of these players in Doha will add a lot of excitement to what promises to be a great finale to the 2009 season."
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, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Justine Henin and both Williamses.