Thursday, October 14, 2010


ROAD TO BALI : Players Joining the Race Towards Glory in Bali
Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions from 4 -7 November 2010
At The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua Bali

The Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions this year promises an unbeatable feast of top-class tennis with Chinese icon Li Na, defending champion Aravane Rezai and Maria Sharapova among those who have qualified to compete in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season finale.

As well as six International Series champions, the tournament is enhanced by two world-class wild cards, former number one and French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and 2007 Bali runner-up Daniela Hantuchova.

Li Na is no stranger to Bali after competing at the Wismilak International in 2005, when she reached the semi-finals before falling to Lindsay Davenport. Despite missing large periods of her career to injury, the Chinese number one has proved over and over again that when she is fit she can beat any player she faces. This season has been especially successful, as she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open as well as the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, where both times she was beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams.

All eyes will be on Sharapova as she makes her debut in South East Asia. The highest earning female athlete in the world burst upon the scene by winning Wimbledon at the age of just 17, and she has gone on to be ranked number one in the world on four separate occasions. A name synonymous with glamour and style both on and off the court, the elegant Russian is one of the biggest superstars in the history of the game and is regularly featured in fashion magazines around the globe.

Yanina Wickmayer competes in the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions for the second straight year, and continues to be one of the trendsetters among the young generation. She began the year in spectacular form by winning the Auckland event, and then her two victories helped Belgium to a Fed Cup win over Poland. She went on to enjoy a solid year, with quarter-finals in Miami and Cincinnati, a win over 2009 Bali champion Aravane Rezai in Rome and victory over Francesca Schiavone shortly before the Italian won the French Open.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is just 19, but she has proved this year to be one of the most talented teenagers playing the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour with titles in Monterrey and Istanbul. But it is no surprise that she is succeeding so well at the senior level when as a junior she was ranked world number one in 2006. She won no less than three Grand Slam singles titles and four doubles, with one of her victories coming over Caroline Wozniacki in the 2006 Australian Open final.

Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions winner Aravane Rezai went on from her Bali victory in 2009 to enjoy a fine season in 2010. Establishing herself in the world’s top 20, her season was highlighted when she achieved one of the most spectacular victory runs of the year as she overcame former world number one Justine Henin and two top five opponents to win the title in Madrid. Later in the year she added another title in Bastad to qualify for the chance to defend her title in Bali.

Alisa Kleybanova is another young player who has enjoyed a tremendous season, with some of her greatest successes coming here in Asia. First, she won the title in Kuala Lumpur, and she followed that up last month by adding another title to her portfolio in Seoul. Earlier, she had sent shockwaves through the tennis world when she upset former world number one Kim Clijsters at Indian Wells, and in August she made headlines again as beat Bali champion Aravane Rezai and then ended the title hopes of world number two Jelena Jankovic in San Diego.

Like Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic is recognised all over the world for both her achievements on the court and her model-girl looks. In 2008 she won her first Grand Slam at the French Open and ascended to world number one. Although she then struggled with injury, this season has seen the popular Serb show signs of regaining the form that took her to the top of the game. She began 2010 by reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane, and in May she defeated two top 10 opponents on her way to the semi-finals in Rome. In August she made another great run to the Cincinnati semi-finals, where she was forced to retire with an injury to her left foot.

Daniela Hantuchova has long named Bali as one of her favourite destinations on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and she has fond memories of the Paradise Isle after reaching the final of the Wismilak International in 2007 and the semi-finals the following year. This season has been impressive too as she went all the way to the final in Monterrey, reached the semi-finals at both Charleston and San Diego and claimed several impressive victories over opponents such as Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina.

While the field of eight players is close to being confirmed, the remaining three International Series tournaments in Linz, Osaka and Luxembourg this month could still produce new qualifiers.

About The Tournament :
After two years as title sponsor of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic Tennis Tournament, in 2009 Commonwealth Bank stepped up its sponsorship to the COMMONWEALTH BANK TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS. The tournament will feature top Tour players and next generation champions competing for $600,000 in prize money. Players will have just one opportunity to advance to the semi-finals in an all-or-nothing knockout. Only the top eight players who have captured at least one International Series tournament during the year and who are not participating in singles at the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2010 will qualify for the event.
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