CINCINNATI, OH -- Eight of the top 10 players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour have committed to play the upgraded 2009 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati.
The players include the reigning champs at all four Grand Slams (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open); the reigning Olympic gold medalist; three players who were No. 1 in the world in 2008; and recent finalists at the Australian Open, the US Open, the French Open, and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships.
Players who’ve committed early include the reigning Wimbledon champ, Venus Williams, the reigning French Open champ, Ana Ivanovic, and reigning Australian Open and US Open champ Serena Williams. All three players have been ranked No. 1 in the world.
Recent world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic also has committed. Jankovic reached the final at the US Open in 2008 as well as the semifinals at both the Australian Open and the French Open.
Reigning Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva will make her debut in Cincinnati. In 2004, Dementieva was the runner-up at the French Open and the US Open, and she reached the semis at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Dinara Safina, the 2009 Australian Open singles finalist, also has committed. She also was a finalist at the 2008 French Open.
Vera Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska also have committed. Zvonareva was the runner-up at the 2008 Sony Ericsson WTA Championships, and Radwanska, who is only 19, won the Wimbledon junior title in 2005.
"This is the first year the tournament is a Premier event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour," said tournament director Bruce Flory. "This early commitment list is astounding. The thought of having both Williams sisters, Ivanovic, Dementieva and all the other women who we all see play at Wimbledon and the US Open playing here in Mason is very, very exciting. It’s going to make for a very exciting summer of tennis in the Midwest."
The upgrade to the Premier level means Cincinnati will host the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s third-richest event in the United States, after Miami and Indian Wells. The men’s event, the Western & Southern Financial Masters, is an ATP Masters 1000 event, which means all the top players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are automatically entered.
Total prize money will be $5 million for the W&SFG Masters & Women’s Open, which will be held August 8-23 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
"The middle weekend, August 15-16, will be unlike anything tennis fans in the Midwest have ever seen," said Flory. "We’ll have women’s singles and doubles, men’s main-draw doubles, and top players practicing all over the Lindner Family Tennis Center. It’s going to be a blast."
Series tickets will go on sale February 2, while single-session tickets will go on sale March 2. For tickets or information call 513-651-0303 or click on Tickets on this website.