Fresh off winning the Premier-level Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Cara Black and Sania Mirza have become the fourth team to qualify for the eight-team doubles competition at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which is less than a month away.
They will be making their first appearance at the WTA Finals as a team, and Mirza will be making her first appearance at the event individually too, but Black has a wealth of experience there - this will be her 11th WTA Finals appearance, having already qualified for 10 straight years between 2000 and 2009 with three different partners (Elena Likhovtseva, Rennae Stubbs and Liezel Huber, with whom she won the tournament in 2007 and 2008).
Black and Mirza will join Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, and Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the field at the $6.5 million tournament, with four spots remaining.
"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. "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."
"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, said of the news.
Black and Mirza 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).
This year the doubles event expanded from four to eight teams - much to Black and Mirza's delight.
"I think it's a great move for the WTA Finals to have eight teams now," Black said. "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."
"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."