Bali to stage new season-ending WTA tournament

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BALI, Indonesia, Sep 17 (Reuters) Players who fail to reach the primary season-ending Championships on the WTA Tour are to get the opportunity to compete in a new secondary event.

Bali, which currently stages the biggest women's tennis tournament in south-east Asia, will be the venue for the new 600,000 dollars Commonwealth Bank International Championships from Nov. 3-9 2009. The initial agreement is to hold the tournament for three years, replacing the regular tour event, with the winner receiving 200,000 dollars.

The tournament is part of an extensive re-vamping of the women's tour known as the Roadmap plan, which is intended to reduce the playing commitments of top players and to shorten the season.

The existing Tour Championships will draw players competing in 20 premium events, including four combined WTA/ATP tournaments to be held in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing. The new International Championships will feature players who compete at 30 International Series tournaments.

The qualifying system for Bali is still under consideration, according to WTA CEO Larry Scott.

''The top eight ranked players will qualify to play in Qatar,'' Scott told Reuters. ''For this tournament it will be the top performers in the International Series. We are still examining and researching exactly how the format should work.

''It might be based on a points race for International tournaments, but we for sure won't come up with a different points scale. I learned from my experience at the ATP that we need to keep it as simple as possible and not try and create too many different races because it makes it harder for the public to follow.'' The Bali tournament has in recent years attracted several top 10 players, such as 2005 and 2007 champion Lindsay Davenport, three-times winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and 2003 champion Elena Dementieva.

REUTERS BJR RN1023

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