| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

Serena Williams and doubles teams Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond and Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka have qualified for the season-ending TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, which will feature the world's top eight singles players and top four doubles teams and will be held at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul from Oct. 23-28. Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and the doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were previously announced as qualifiers for the event. 

"I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul," said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. "Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a Golden Career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her fifth Wimbledon and fourth U.S. Open titles. Serena's love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world."

Williams has had a phenomenal last five months on the WTA, winning six titles-most notably, her 14th and 15th Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the Olympic Gold Medal. She has won 43 of her last 45 matches and is also a two-time WTA Championships champion, in 2001 and 2009.

"Andrea and Lucie's outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, in addition to winning a Silver Medal at the Olympics," said Allaster. "It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-number ones on the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back to defend their title."

The two doubles teams that qualified have been exceptional this year as well—Huber and Raymond have won five titles together (all Premier titles, at Paris [Indoors], Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and New Haven) while Hlavackova and Hradecka have won three (only one Premier title at Cincinnati, but they have also reached very big finals at Wimbledon, the Olympics and U.S. Open).

"One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the WTA Championships," Huber said. "Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again. The doubles competition will be tough and I'm sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year."