Singapore: The Indo-Zimbawbwean combination of Sania Mirza and Cara Black became the fourth pair to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore, next month.
Sania Mirza and Cara Black
It would be Mirza's maiden appearance at the event, the WTA announced in a press release. Black would be making her 11th appearance in the competition having qualified for the previous 10 years with three different partners - Elena Likhovtseva, Rennae Stubbs and Liezel Huber.
Sania and Cara would compete in the eight-team doubles competition, joining Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, and defending champions Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei, who qualified earlier.
"Cara and I are excited to have qualified for the WTA Finals and look forward to competing against the best teams in the world," Mirza said in the WTA statement.
"I'll be making my first appearance at the season finale while for Cara it's the first time since she became a mother, so we have lots to celebrate already.
"We're having a great year and we hope to continue that success with a great run in Singapore," she said. "Cara and Sania have proven to be not only one of the
best WTA doubles partnerships on the court, but also inspirational leaders off the court to fans worldwide - Cara as a mother and Sania for the millions of fans in India,"
Stacey Allaster, the Chairman & CEO of the WTA, was quoted as saying by a release. Mirza and Black clicked right from the beginning, winning their first two tournaments together last fall at Premier-level events in Tokyo and Beijing.
They've followed that up this year with two WTA doubles titles (Oeiras and Tokyo), three more finals (Indian Wells, Stuttgart and Montréal) and three more semifinals (including their first Grand Slam semifinal together at the US Open a few weeks ago).
This year the doubles event expanded from four to eight teams - much to Mirza and Black's delight. "I think it's a great move for the WTA Finals to have eight teams now. It gives a lot more opportunities to the girls and makes the event more exciting too - there will be more matches, which helps expand the game of doubles.
Hopefully the fans enjoy the doubles even more this year," Black said. " "We'll try to win, but it's going to be tough with the eight best teams there," Mirza said.
"But it'll also make it even more exciting," Channel News Asia quoted Mirza as saying.