Sharapova Ekes Out Marathon Win Over Radwanska in Istanbul


(October 24, 2012) Maria Sharapova rallied past Agnieszka Radwanska in a three-hour, 12-minute contest, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 on Wednesday for her second round-robin win at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, securing the Russian a place in the semifinal round.

“It was a very physical match,” said Sharapova.  “Just came down just to a few points in the end.  I think today was an example of not playing my best tennis at all, fighting through it, hanging in there, and getting it done.

“I mean, obviously I didn’t play the way I wanted to from the beginning.  I didn’t break her once in the first set.  Just wasn’t doing a lot on my returns; wasn’t playing aggressive enough.

“But I fought and I won, so I’m happy.”

Sharapova hit 66 winners to 64 errors to Radwanska’s 18 winners and 19 errors.

“I feel like I was doing the right things,” said the Russian.  “Obviously there’s a reason why she’s No. 4 in the world.  She showed that today.  Her capability of anticipating where the ball goes and getting it back.  No matter if it’s, you know, a hard shot or a lower slice that has no pace, she makes you work for it.

“She did until the end.  I found a way to get through those points against her which is not always easy, especially on a slower court like this.  But I managed.”

“It was actually great match,” said Radwanska. ” All of those set(s) were very tight.  You know, of course I had my chance in the second set, but when you’re not using them against really top player, great player, it’s hard to come back.”

The victory advances Sharapova out of the White Group and into the semifinals, joining Serena Williams who advanced out of the Red Group earlier Wednesday evening.

Istanbul, Turkey
October 23-28, 2012

Results – Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Round Robin – Red Group
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (5) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(11) 76(2) 64 (saved 2mp)
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (8) Li Na (CHN) 76(2) 63

Round Robin – White Group
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 57 75 75

Order Of Play – Thursday, October 25, 2012
Stadium (from 17.00hrs)

[5] Angelique Kerber (GER) vs [8] Li Na (CHN)
[1] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs [3] Serena Williams (USA)
[9] Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs [7] Sara Errani (ITA)



WTA Launches Tender Process to Host Championships For 2014 and Beyond

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced the launch of the international tender process to identify the host city for its year-end WTA Championships for 2014 and beyond.  The WTA’s year-end finale – with a global audience across 164 countries and a 40-year history of being hosted in a handful of  world cities – features the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams competing for one of the most coveted titles in women’s tennis and a share of the multi-million prize money.


“The WTA Championships has gone from strength to strength over the past four decades, and is today recognized as one of a handful of truly blue chip international events on the world sporting calendar,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA.  “Based on the significant demand by numerous cities around the world to invest in women’s tennis and host our year-end WTA Championships, we decided to launch an international bidding process to select a host city for 2014 and beyond.  It’s a chance for some city somewhere to step up on the world stage.  We are confident that through this process we will be able to identify the right city to become the next partner for the world’s premier sporting event for women.”


“A trip to the WTA Championships, and the right to battle for such a prestigious title and possibly the World No.1 ranking, is the goal of every single player,” said World No.2 and three-time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova.  “Having only the best of the best together always makes for an incredibly exciting finale to each WTA season.  And having the chance to bring our best event to new cities is always exciting for the players and fans.”


In order to showcase the best of women’s tennis to fans around the world, continuously expand the sport, and grow its value and fan base, the WTA has had a successful strategy of rotating its year-end Championships to different global markets.  The WTA’s season-ending crown jewel has held in only a handful of world class cities including New York, Los Angeles, Munich, Madrid, Doha and Istanbul.  The roster of former WTA Championships winners reads as a who’s who of the legends of the game, including Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.


The 2011 WTA Championships – sponsored by BNP Paribas and its Turkish partner Türk Ekonomi Bankasý (TEB), as well as Rolex, Turkish Airlines, Sony Xperia, Oriflame and others, and held in Istanbul for the first of three years – was a hugely successful event, registering the highest attendance in 12 years, and setting record broadcast and digital audience milestones.  The 2011 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships broadcast more than 400 hours of live coverage in 164 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date.   The WTA Championships will remain in Istanbul through 2013.


The WTA chose the London-based international sports marketing agency, The Sports Consultancy, to manage the Championships bid process, which will commence with requests for Expression of Interest sent to prospective host cities that are required to respond by June 29, 2012.  Interested parties will receive a Bid Guide, formal Bid Application and Questionnaire that must be submitted by September 21, 2012.  A short list of potential Candidate Cities will be announced in October 2012, with a final decision made in March 2013.  Parties interested in submitting an Expression of Interest should contact The Sports Consultancy by email at thesportsconsultancy@wtatennis.com


WTA Signs BNP Paribas and TEB as Joint Title Sponsors of Year-End Championships in Istanbul


The WTA has announced  that BNP Paribas and its Turkish partner Türk Ekonomi Bankasý (TEB) will become joint title sponsors of the year-end WTA Championships.  The TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2011, 2012 and 2013.


Under the terms of the three-year agreement, TEB-BNP Paribas will become the official bank of the WTA Championships and receive global exposure through on-court branding, broadcast and digital brand exposure; and international marketing and promotion across all WTA platforms, including digital and social media channels. Additional significant domestic activation will be done through TEB, thus bringing women’s tennis closer to Turkish fans.


“We are very excited and extremely proud to name TEB-BNP Paribas as the title sponsor of our year-end Championships, the apex of our season, for the next three years,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.  “Our partnership with TEB-BNP Paribas is yet another example of how attractive women’s tennis is to sponsors.”


“By becoming the title sponsor of the WTA Championships in Istanbul, TEB is carrying forward the BNP Paribas Group’s global sports sponsorship policy. As well as enhancing the local and international impact of this major sports event, our sponsorship will contribute to the development of tennis in this country with the experience, knowledge and organization ability brought by the WTA. In supporting women’s tennis at the highest level, we are also promoting the values of excellence and self-challenge which our Group holds dear.  We are looking forward to sharing in this outstanding event with the Turkish people, who will, I am sure, give the most enthusiastic welcome to the elite athletes of women’s tennis,” said Varol Civil, Chief Executive Officer of TEB.


The WTA’s season-ending tournament – the TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships – will be hosted at the state of the art Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey for three years and will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams who will compete for the coveted title and a share of the $5 million in prize money.  One of the world’s most exciting and unique cities, Istanbul bridges two continents and will spur continued growth of women’s tennis in the region.  The fifth largest metropolis in the world, Istanbul joins a list of select world cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Munich, Madrid and Doha that have had the opportunity to host the WTA’s season finale.


The new partnership marks the fifth major deal signed by the WTA in the past 12 months.  In addition to renewing Sony Ericsson as the WTA’s lead global sponsor, WTA signed leading European cosmetics brand Oriflame, Chinese apparel company Peak, and Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas airlines, to new sponsorship deals.  WTA also renewed and significantly upgraded its partnership with USANA, a leading global vitamin and health supplement manufacturer.