Although none of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012 qualifiers are competing in Moscow this year, the Kremlin Cup still has a dynamite field featuring three former Grand Slam champions, two former World No.1s and the defending champ.
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Dominika Cibulkova survived a battle with Kaia Kanepi to secure her first WTA singles title in her final event of 2011 in Moscow. She has followed that up with another impressive season in 2012, highlighted by a title in Carlsbad, a runner-up showing in Barcelona and a run to the quarters at Roland Garros.
One of many possible obstacles in the way of another Moscow title for Cibulkova is No.1 seed Samantha Stosur. An alternate in Istanbul, the 2011 US Open champion will be looking to shake off a dramatic three set upset loss at the hands of Chang Kai-Chen in the Osaka semifinals last week. No.2 seed Marion Bartoli will also be an alternate in Istanbul.
Other contenders are former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, former No.1 and 2008 French Open champ Ana Ivanovic and 2010 French Open champ Francesca Schiavone. Wozniacki picked up her first title in a year last month in Seoul. Ivanovic is titleless this year, but has been a steady presence inside the Top 15. Though she netted a title in Strasbourg earlier this year, Schiavone has struggled for much of 2012. She likes to compete in Moscow, though, having been victorious in 2009 and runner-up in 2005.
The doubles event may get just as much attention as the singles, in that the two teams fighting for the last remaining berth in Istanbul are not only in the draw but are possible semifinal foes. Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova have a miniscule points lead over Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, but a title in Moscow would guarantee the Russians a place in the season finale. The No.1 seeds are another pair of Russians, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who are coming off their first WTA title together in Beijing.
Top seed Roberta Vinci is in Luxembourg for the first time since she took the title in 2010. Her victim in the final that year, Julia Goerges, is also in the field. The second-seeded German will be looking to continue the success she had last week in Linz, where she made her first final since February.
Unseeded but always dangerous, Venus Williams is set to grace Luxembourg's courts for the first time since 2006. The five-time major champion will be playing for the first time since the US Open.
Top seeds in doubles are Istanbul qualifiers Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who will be strong favorites to collect their fourth title of the year.