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Who's Going To Sofia?

With the line-up for Istanbul finalized, attention has turned to qualification for the Qatar Airways Tournament Of Champions Sofia.

Published October 11, 2012 07:23

Who's Going To Sofia?
Maria Kirilenko

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Traditionally, at this time of year, all the talk is about 'The Race'. As the clock ticks down to the season-ending WTA Championships, those yet to have secured their spot are placed firmly in one of two camps: either they are embroiled in an almighty scramble for as many points as possible or they are sitting nervously in one of the remaining qualification spots, looking over their shoulder at the chaos unfolding beneath them.

Except that this year is different. With the race for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012 wrapped up uncharacteristically early, all eyes have now turned to the Qatar Airways Tournament Of Champions Sofia.

Like Istanbul, the field in Sofia will be comprised of eight players competing in two round-robin groups, with the winners and runners-up progressing to the semifinals. Competing will be the six highest-ranked players to have won an International-level tournament in 2012 and not qualified for Istanbul, plus two wildcards.

Thankfully, with Istanbul's line-up now confirmed and the wildcard picks announced, sorting out who will be making their way to Bulgaria will become somewhat clearer over the next week or so as the regular season winds down.

In the qualification places at present are Caroline Wozniacki, Nadia Petrova, Roberta Vinci, Kaia Kanepi, Zheng Jie and Hsieh Su-Wei, with Francesca Schiavone, Mona Barthel and Daniela Hantuchova waiting in the wings.

The final line-up will not be announced until after next week's BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, the final International tournament of the year. Whoever does make it will be looking to follow in the footsteps of previous champions Ana Ivanovic, winner in both 2010 and 2011, and Aravane Rezai, who took home the inaugural title in 2009.

After three years at the picturesque Bali International Convention Centre, the tournament has moved to the recently built Armeets Arena in Sofia for the 2012 edition.

The draw ceremony will be held on Sunday, October 28, with the round robin stage getting underway two days later.

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