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Guest Blog

Stakes and favorites in the WTA Championship

Kvitova to win, Woz to retain 31


October 25, 2011 | 01:17 PM

While the top 8 women in the world play for a share of a bonus pool of almost $5 million dollars, three of the women

have a theoretical chance of taking the #1 ranking from Caroline Wozniacki. Here's what needs to happen for #2 Sharapova, #3 Kvitova and #4 Azarenka:to stay in the race for #1:

AZARENKA

- If Wozniacki just plays her first round robin match on Tuesday (win or lose), then Azarenka is eliminated from the race for year-end No.1.

KVITOVA

- If Wozniacki plays her first two round robin matches and wins just one of them, then Kvitova is eliminated from the race for year-end No.1.

SHARAPOVA

- There is no way for Wozniacki to eliminate Sharapova during the round robin portion of the event based solely on her own performance.

- If, however, Wozniacki goes 3-0 in the round robin and Sharapova doesn't go 3-0, then Sharapova is eliminated from the race for year-end No.1.

As for how the pot of gold gets divvied up:

PRIZE MONEY

Singles (all amounts in USD)

Winner (if undefeated): $1,750,000

Winner (if loses 1 RR match): $1,635,000

Winner (if loses 2 RR matches): $1,520,000

Runner-up (if undefeated in RR): $890,000

Runner-up (if wins 2 RR matches): $775,000

Runner-up (if wins 1 RR match): $660,000

Semifinalist (if undefeated in RR): $485,000

Semifinalist (if wins 2 RR matches): $375,000

Semifinalist (if wins 1 RR match): $255,000

Round Robin (if 3-0): $455,000

Round Robin (if 2-1): $340,000

Round Robin (if 1-2): $225,000

Round Robin (if 0-3): $110,000

Round Robin (if 2-0): $340,000

Round Robin (if 1-1): $225,000

Round Robin (if 0-2): $110,000

Round Robin (if 1-0): $225,000

Round Robin (if 0-1): $110,000

* Alternates receive $50,000 if she does not play (#9 Bartoli is the sub)

The winner will increase her annual prize money by a low of 44% (if Kvitova were to win while losing 2 of 3 round robin matches) to a high of 96% (if Zvonareva were to lose only 1 RR match. Maria, with annual sponsorship earnings of almost $25M, shouldn't sweat the winner's purse, but the rest may all be properly motivated by such a bonus.

TV COVERAGE for round robin play through Friday is on The Tennis Channel, live beginning at 10am. Weekend coverage will be aired live on ESPN2, with delayed coverage on the TC. ESPN3 offers select matches. A mobile site is online at:

- www.m.wtatour.com

ROUND ROBIN GROUPS

Red group:

#1 Wozniacki

#3 Kvitova

# 6 Zvonareva

#8 Radwanska

Kvitova is the favorite in this group given her 15-0 record indoors this year. The only player she has not played this year is Wozniacki, and she has wins over all the rest, while Wozniacki does not.

White group:

#2 Sharapova

# 4 Azarenka

#5 Na Li

#7 Stosur

A favorite is tougher to pick in this group.

- Sharapova lost to both Azarenka and Na Li this year, but beat Stosur 3 times.

- Azarenka has just won an indoor tournament and beat Maria in their only encounter this year, but she lost to Na Li twice. Although she did not play Stosur this year, she is 4-0 with her lifetime.

- Stosur lost to Maria 3 times this year, but beat Na Li 3 times.

- Na Li beat Maria once along with beating Azarenka twice.

My hunch is that Kvitova will win the event and move ahead of Maria in the year-end rankings, but Wozniacki will hold on to her #1 ranking.

Rick

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