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RTS Update: Expanded Doubles Format

We asked two of the WTA's most talented - and successful - doubles players to tell us what they thought about the WTA Championships expanding from four doubles teams to eight doubles teams.

Published February 10, 2014 12:13

RTS Update: Expanded Doubles Format
Kristina Mladenovic, Chan Hao-Ching

SINGAPORE - With no WTA events last week, and thus no changes to the Road To Singapore leaderboard, we thought it would be a good time to ask about an important change to the WTA Championships this year - the expansion of the doubles format from four teams to eight teams.

Not only does this mean more teams have a shot at qualifying for the WTA Championships now, but it also means players who don't just stick with one partner throughout the year have a better shot.

Kristina Mladenovic is the perfect example of a player who would have benefited from the expanded doubles format at the WTA Championships in 2013. She won more WTA doubles titles with different partners than anyone else, with five - Memphis with Galina Voskoboeva, Charleston with Lucie Safarova, Oeiras with Chan Hao-Ching, Palermo with Katarzyna Piter and Osaka with Flavia Pennetta.

"I think it's a good idea to make the draw a little bit bigger," Mladenovic said. "More than just four amazing teams can go there - I think the four teams behind them also deserve to be a part of it, so it's great. It's more players and much better - I only have positive things to say about this change.

"It's nice to have the eight best teams with the eight best players. It's an even bigger show."

Unlike last year, Mladenovic is hoping to keep a regular partner this year - a former No.1, too.

"I'm playing this season with Flavia Pennetta," the Frenchwoman said. "We hope to do well together this year and of course we have it as a goal to qualify for the WTA Championships in Singapore."

Meanwhile, Sara Errani has played with the same partner - Roberta Vinci - for almost two years. The last time she played with anyone else came in Fed Cup in April 2012 - coincidentally with Pennetta.

Regardless of her MO, Errani shared the positive view of the expanded format with Mladenovic.

"I think it's good," the Italian said. "Four teams wasn't too many. Also you were going there and maybe having just one or two matches. Eight teams is better - it's much better, with more players.

"There are a lot of good players and good teams in doubles so it's nice for more of them to play."

Check out the full Road To Singapore leaderboard here for singles and here for doubles.

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