Miami Women’s Major Tournament

The 4th Major Tournament on the WTA Tour in 2010 is the Miami Open, which is in Florida, USA. This year Miami is called the Sony Ericsson Open and has been since 2007. Miami is often referred to as the 5th Grand Slam. The 2010 Sony Ericsson Open began as the Lipton International Players Championships in 1985. A new title sponsor took over in the year 2000 and for 2 years Miami was the Ericsson Open, then from 2002 through to 2006 Miami was the NASDAQ-100 Open.

Miami is one of the most important tournaments on the WTA Tour because it is one of only 4 Premier Mandatory events and is the 2nd Premier Mandatory tournament in 2010. Miami will be held at the Crandon Park Tennis Center and is a joint event with the men’s ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. The stadium court seats 13,800 people, the Penn ATP tennis ball will be used and the court surface is Laykold Cushion Plus hard courts.

A Premier Mandatory event is a combined tournament where the men’s ATP Tour and the women’s WTA Tour both play at the same venue and at the same time. This category of event has 4.5 million dollars in prize money for both events making them equal prize money events. To put it into perspective in terms of the world famous Grand Slam tournaments, the winner of Miami is weighted above making a Grand Slam semi final as the winner earns more WTA ranking points and prize money in comparison.

This year is the 26th consecutive year that the Miami tournament will be held and after the first three years the event has since been a top-level tournament. The 2006 Miami event was the first tournament to use electronic line calling for the WTA Tour and the ATP Tour. Hawkeye was used on the stadium court and later that year the US Open followed suit and used electronic line calling for the first time.

The singles main draw consists of 96 players and the ceremony for making the draw will be held on Monday 22 March at 2pm local time. There are 8 main draw wild cards and 12 spots reserved for qualifiers. The qualifying draw will have 48 players which means that you need to win 2 matches in a row in order to qualify. There will be 32 seeded players who all receive a BYE in the 1st round. Therefore 64 players play in the 1st round with the 32 winners joining the 32 seeds in the 2nd round.

The WTA rankings as of February 17, 2010 were used to determine which players would be accepted into the singles main draws. There were 76 direct acceptances with the cut-off being World No.82 Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia. The cut-off is the ranking of the last player (lowest ranked player), who is directly accepted into the main draw.

The wild cards were announced on 16 March and they were awarded to 2010 Australian Open runner-up Justine Henin of Belgium, World No. 75 Petra Martic of Croatia, No.101 Jelena Dokic of Australia, No.115 Aranxta Rus of the Netherlands, No.116 Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal, 17 year old Heather Watson of Great Britain, No.175 19 year old Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia and 16 year old Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Last year the No.11 seed Victoria Azarenka won Miami by defeating the defending champion at the time Serena Williams 6-3 6-1 in the final. The Belarusian won 1,000 WTA ranking points for that victory whilst Serena the No.1 seed won 700 WTA ranking points as the runner-up.

Azarenka who is captured above moments after making contact with the ball with her serve, beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2009 Miami semi finals & Samantha Stosur in the quarter finals. Serena defeated Venus Williams in the semis & Li Na in the quarters. The other 2 quarter finalists were Caroline Wozniacki who lost to Kuznetsova and Iveta Benesova who lost to Venus.

Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Miami. Click this link for more details including the Schedule of Play for the entire tournament and more about how the Women’s Pro Tour works -> Miami 2010: Mar 22-Apr 4.

Today’s POST is dedicated to Chris O’Neil. O’Neil was born on 19 March in 1956. The Australian won 1 Grand Slam singles title, the 1978 Australian Open and she is the last Australian woman to win the Australian Open (32 years ago).

© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2010

Creative Commons License photo credit: Richard.Fisher

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