Williams, Sharapova highlight Championship field

October 18, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will be in Istanbul, Turkey, October 23-28 as the world of women’s tennis gathers to crown its annual season-ending singles and doubles champions. Almost 40 hours of live coverage is planned as Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic gold medal winner Serena Williams; French Open champion Maria Sharapova and six other top points earners of the year battle for the 2012 singles title.

Only the top eight singles players and top four doubles teams qualify for the prestigious year-end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships. The tour’s grand finale takes place each autumn with a singles round-robin format that features two groups of four, with each guaranteed at least three matches during the week, all against another of the year’s best players. The top two in each group advance to the semifinals, played in traditional, single-elimination style, a format also used for the doubles.

Tennis Channel will carry all singles round-robin matches and both semifinals live, with a same-day encore of the championship match on Sunday, October 28. Both doubles semifinals and championship matches also will be live, followed by same-day encores. Coverage runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET during weekdays. Weekend times vary (complete schedule follows).

Brett Haber will handle singles play by play for the network during the WTA Championships, with assists from analysts Lindsay Davenport and Corina Morariu. Davenport won three consecutive year-end double titles from 1996-1998, and the singles championship in 1999. Morariu held the No. 1 doubles ranking in 2000.

In addition to Williams and Sharapova, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Li Na round out the WTA Championships singles field this year. In doubles, Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond return to defend the championship they won last year in Istanbul, and will be joined by Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci and Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka. The fourth and final doubles spot is still being contested

More information about the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships is available on Tennis Channel’s Web site, During the tournament the network will engage with viewers via social media platforms Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube ( and Viddy (

Tennis Channel’s 2012 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships Schedule