ISTANBUL, Turkey - All in one shot, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani have booked their places in the eight woman singles field at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012, to take place at the Sinan Erdem Arena from October 23 to 28 - just a few weeks away.
"I would like to congratulate Angelique, Petra and Sara on qualifying for the WTA Championships," said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. "Angelique and Sara have achieved their career-best seasons, while Petra has solidified her position in the world's Top 5 and is a proven contender at any tournament. As we approach the final weeks of the season, we still have a number of players locked in an exciting competition for the final singles and doubles places."
Kerber's season has been highlighted by her first two WTA titles at Paris [Indoors] and Copenhagen, two more finals at Eastbourne and Cincinnati (and she barely lost those finals) and another six semifinals, including her second Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. She cracked the Top 10 just before the French Open and is currently the WTA's match win leader for the season.
"This has been the best year of my career," said Kerber, the first German to play the season finale since Anke Huber in 2001. "To have the opportunity to play at the WTA Championships will be an amazing way to end 2012."
Kvitova sizzled during the summer hardcourt season, winning WTA titles at Montréal and New Haven - those results helped her win the Emirates Airline US Open Series. She also made another five semifinals during the year, including Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open.
"I'm so happy to have qualified again for the WTA Championships - it's always an honor to defend a title, and to do so in Istanbul makes it extra special," said Kvitova, the defending champion. "It has been a challenging year, so to finish among the Top 8 is really rewarding. I had a great time in Istanbul last year and I look forward to returning and trying to play my best for the fans in Turkey."
Errani has probably had the biggest breakthrough season of anyone, her biggest moment coming at the French Open, where she reached her first Grand Slam final and subsequently stormed from No.24 to No.10 (the first player ever to make their Top 10 debut from outside the Top 20). The Italian also picked up four WTA titles on clay at Acapulco, Barcelona, Budapest and Palermo and reached another four semifinals, including her second Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. All this is complemented by a sensational doubles season, winning eight titles with Roberta Vinci and becoming the doubles World No.1.
"I'm so proud to be able to represent my country at the WTA Championships in both singles and doubles," said Errani, the first player to qualify in both singles and doubles since the Williams sisters in 2009. "This has been a wonderful year for me, and to be able to play not only singles in Istanbul, but also doubles with my good friend Roberta Vinci, is a great way to finish the season."
Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska were the first four qualifiers; two players - Li Na and Marion Bartoli - will now battle it out for the eighth and last spot in the singles field.