The round robin groups for the 2011 WTA Championships Istabul have been named. Topping the Red Group will be #1 seed Caroline Wozniacki. In addition to Caroline, the Red Group includes (3) Petra Kvitova, (6) Vera Zvonareva and (8) Agnieszka Radwanska. #2 seed Maria Sharapova will head the White Group. Her group includes (4) Victoria Azarenka, (5) Li Na and (7) Samantha Stosur.
The top seeds come in with plenty of questions. Caroline has 6 titles this year, but none since New Haven, prior to the US Open. Masha has 2 titles this year, but was upset early at the US Open and lost in the quarterfinals at Tokyo. Possibly the two hottest players coming in are Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka. Aga won Tokyo and Beijing, while Vika comes in off winning Luxembourg. One player who could salvage a poor second half of the year is Li Na. The Roland Garros champion has fallen precipitously since Paris. A deep run would give her something to build on going into 2012. Interestingly, Samantha Stosur finds herself in a group with a player she’s never lost against, Li Na (5-0), but also 2 players she’s never won against, Masha (0-9) and Vika (0-4).
The top two players in each group from round robin play advance to the semifinals. The top player from each group plays the second player from the other group in the semis. The prizemoney depends on how a player finishes and how they did in round robin play. The round robin prizemoney is $455,000 for 3 round robin wins, $340,000 for 2 round robin wins, $225,000 for 1 round robin win and $110,000 for zero round robin wins. If a player advances past the round robin stage the champion receives $1,295,000 + their round robin money. Runner-up receives $435,000 + their round robin money. Semifinalist receive $30,000 + their round robin money. So if a player won 3 round robin matches and won the tournament they would receive $1,750,000 (1,295,000 winner’s purse + 455,000 for 3 round robin wins).