Turkish capital ready to host WTA tour
ISTANBUL, October 24, 2011 – The Champions League Final, F1 İstanbul Grand Prix, UEFA Cup Final, World Basketball Championships, World Wrestling Championships and many more have come to Istanbul... now the bridge between Europe and Asia is awaiting some massive tennis action.
Since 2008, Doha was an exciting home for the WTA Tour players. The WTA Tour Championships have been one of the most spectacular tennis competitions for the fans of the sport, closely following the 4 Grand Slams in popularity. More than 25,000 spectators have watched each edition of the championships in Doha over the last three years. This year, eight singles and eight doubles players are waiting for the action to start today, with the final taking place in Turkey's largest city on October 30.
İstanbul is pretty experienced when it comes to tennis. The annual İstanbul Cup was held between the years of 2005-2010 and hosted many WTA stars including Venus Williams, Elena Dementieva, Andrea Petkovic, Vera Dushevina, and the latest champion, the young Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Now, İstanbul is ready to host the top 8 players of the tour.
After a year full of tennis and tiredness, everything will end in Sinan Erdem Dome in the Turkish capital. In the absence of the defending champion Kim Clijsters, the current World number one Caroline Wozniacki was the first to qualify after her great run of form. Then the World ex-no. 1 Russian Maria Sharapova, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the 22-year-old Belarussian Victoria Azarenka, 2011 French Open champion Li Na, 2010 US Open and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva, 2011 US Open Champion Samantha Stosur, and the last, after Marion Bartoli's withdrawal in 2011 Kremlin Cup, seven times WTA title holder Agnieszka Radwanska has qualified for the action. Apart from that, 4 doubles teams, Kveta Peschke-Katarina Srebotnik, Liezel Huber-Lisa Raymond, defending champions Flavia Pennetta-Gisela Dulko and Vania King-Yaroslava Shvedova have also qualified for the clash.
The action is going to take place in Sinan Erdem Dome, which in the recent years has hosted the World Basketball Championships. For the singles, 8 players will be divided into two groups, in a round robin format. Then the first two of each group will be matched for the semi finals. The doubles format is more simple, as 4 doubles are going to start directly from semi final day. Sinan Erdem Dome has been under preparation since September 23. The local organizing committee built two courts, one inside - the main court, and the second - for the show matches. Over 400 people are working with the LOC each day, and there will be 500 during the tournament. Local citizens are very excited about watching the best women's tennis players with tickets almost sold out and the city plastered with WTA Championships billboards.
İstanbul will play host to the WTA Championships for the next three years. In fact, this makes the city one of the world's main stops for tennis. Who knows, maybe Istanbul will remain one of the biggest tennis cities of the world after the three years have passed..... Everyone hopes so.