January 16, 2009

Williams Sisters enter Western and Southern Financial Women's Open

Eight of the top-10 ranked women's tennis players in the world, including Serena and Venus Williams, have committed to play in the Western and Southern Financial Group Women's Open, tournament director Bruce Flory said Thursday, Jan. 15. "We're psyched," Flory said. "Having both Williams sisters is huge."

The Mason tournament, a Tier III event for its first five years of existence, is now one of 20 "Premier" events on the WTA Tour. The upgrade is part of the WTA Tour's Roadmap 2009, a series of reforms (shortened season, increased prize money and more player participation) aimed at strengthening women's tennis and enhancing fan enjoyment.

As one of the tour's top tournaments, the W and S Women's Open is guaranteed to receive at least seven of the world's top-10 ranked players. The purse for this year's event at the Lindner Family Tennis Center is up to $2 million from $175,000 last year. Besides the Williams sisters — Serena is ranked No. 2, Venus is No. 6 — the tournament also got commitments from top-ranked Jelena Jankovic, No. 3 Dinara Safina, No. 4 Elena Dementieva, No. 5 Ana Ivanovic, No. 7 Vera Zvonareva and No. 10 Agnieszka Radwanska, Flory said.

By John Boyle (Dayton Daily News)

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