The 14th and final Major Tournament for the women’s professional tennis tour is the end of year WTA Finals in Istanbul, Turkey. This tournament is the pinnacle of the tennis calendar, with all events this year building to this showdown between the world’s best female players. To watch the tennis in Singapore add 5 hours from local Istanbul times listed below.
In this post how the WTA ranking points, prize money are allocated and what the schedule of play is will be covered so YOU can follow, watch and/or attend this tournament. The prize money for the 2011 WTA Tour Finals is 4,900,000 US dollars making this event the highest amount of prize money on offer out of every women’s tournament this year. An undefeated winner earns 1,750,000 which is an extra 200,00 more than in 2010.
Due to title sponsorship naming rights the official name of these year-end finals is the TEB -BNP Paribas WTA Championships. BNP Paribas is a European leader in global banking and financial services and TEB (Türk Ekonomi Bankası) is its Turkish partner. The draw for the 2011 WTA Finals will be held on Sunday 23 October at 7pm local time in Istanbul.
In no other tournament are you required to beat at least 4 if not 5 of the world’s Top 8 ranked players to win the title! Only the Top 8 best performed players for the 2011 season qualify to play-off in this tournament. The WTA Finals are unique on the women’s tour because they begin as a round robin before peaking with semi finals and a final. The round robin begins on Tuesday 25 October and the Women’s Singles Final is on Sunday 30 October.
The WTA Finals have been since 1972 held and debut in Istanbul in Turkey for 2011-2013 after being held in Doha, Qatar from 2008-2010. The tournament venue in Istanbul, Turkey is the Sinam Erdem Stadium with the court surface being indoor hard courts with a green playing area and purple outside the court lines. The centre court can seat 16,000 spectators making it the third largest indoor stadium in Europe. During this season-ending tournament a ceremony will be held to honour whoever becomes the end of year World No.1.
The tournament begins in a round robin format with 2 groups of 4 players, a white group and a red group. The colour for the groups are chosen according to the colours of the Turkish National flag. The groups will be announced and the draw made at 6pm in Istanbul on Sunday 23 October.
To date two of the Top 8 players for 2011 have been confirmed as having qualified for the WTA Tour Finals. First to qualify was Caroline WOZNIACKI and second was Maria SHARAPOVA. The remaining 6 spots are still to be decided by the all-important remaining major tournaments in Tokyo and Beiijng. As soon as each player qualifies their names will be added right here-> Victoria AZARENKA, Petra KVITOVA, Vera ZVONAREVA, LI Na, Samantha STOSUR and Agnieszka RADWANSKA.
THE RED GROUP is: No.1 Wozniacki, No.3 Kvitova, No.6 Zvonareva and No.8 Radwanska
THE WHITE GROUP is: No.2 Sharapova, No.4 Azarenka, No.5 Li and No.7 Stosur.
In the first 4 days of this 6-day tournament each of the 8 women will play against all 3 members of her group. Throughout the round robin matches the world’s best women try to achieve a place in the semi-finals by finishing in the Top 2 spots in their own group. On Day 5 the semi-finals are held where the players who finish at No.1 in their group play the player who finishes No.2 in the other group.
Last year Kim CLIJSTERS won the WTA Championships Final by defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The 28-year-old Clijsters is pictured above making contact with the ball with this forehand drive during the 2011 Miami Open Premier Mandatory tournament.
The 4-time Grand Slam singles champion from Belgium defeated 2011 US Open singles champion Samantha Stosur in the 2010 WTA Finals at the semi final stage, plus defeated former World No.1 Jelena Jankovic and current World No.3 Victoria Azarenka in the round robin matches. The 1.74m Clijsters only loss for the event was against Vera Zvonareva. The former World No.1 has already withdrawn from the Japan Open in Tokyo and the China Open in Beijing, which are the last two major tournaments of this year.
After being unable to defend her US Open title earlier this month Clijsters dropped to No.9 and due to her withdrawals from Japan and China it is highly unlikely that Clijsters can qualify in the Top 8 this year and defend her 1,340 points she earned in 2010. In which case Clijsters loses those 1,340 ranking points from 2010 as they would automatically drop-off her points tally and send her out of the Top 10.
The WTA ranking points and prize money is awarded to the players like this:
- The winner earns 1,500 points + US$ 1,750,000 if undefeated;
- The winner earns 1,340 points + $1,635,000 with 2 round robin match wins;
- The winner earns 1,180 points + $1,520,000 with 1 round robin match win;
- The runner-up earns 1,050 points + $890,000 if undefeated in round robin;
- The runner-up earns 890 points + $775,000 with 2 round robin match wins;
- The runner-up earns 730 points + $660,000 with 1 round robin match win;
- The 2 semifinalists earn 690 points + $485,000 if undefeated in the round robin;
- The 2 semifinalists earn 530 points + $370,000 with 2 round robin match wins;
- The 2 semifinalists earn 370 points + $255,000 with 1 round robin match win;
- All other round robin players with 2 round robin match wins earn 530 points + $340,000;
- Round robin players with 1 match win earn 370 points + $225,000; and
- Round robin players who do not win a match earn 210 points + $110,000.
Please note that the tournament management can alter the schedule from day to day, in which case we will update you of any changes in later posts.
The schedule of play for the 2011 WTA Finals singles event is:
- Tuesday 25 October: 3 Round Robin matches from 5pm;
- Wednesday 26 October: 3 Round Robin matches from 5pm;
- Thursday 27 October: 3 Round Robin matches from 5pm;
- Friday 28 October: 3 Round Robin matches from 5pm;
- Saturday 29 October: 1st Semi Final at 3pm followed by the 2nd Semi Final; and
- Sunday 30 October: Women’s Singles Final at 5pm.
Stay tuned to this tennis website for full coverage of every Grand Slam tournament and every major women’s and men’s tennis tournament on the WTA and ATP Tours.
© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2011
photo credit: Mark Howard Photography