Doha, 25 October 2010 | AAP
Samantha Stosur has been handed a favourable draw for her maiden appearance in the women’s singles at the season-ending WTA Championships in Doha.
While the eighth-ranked Stosur has landed in the Maroon Group alongside world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, her French Open final conqueror Francesca Schiavone and Russian Elena Dementieva, the Queenslander’s draw could have been far worse.
The only two players in the eight-woman event whom Stosur has never beaten are both in the White Group for the round-robin hardcourt event.
US Open champion Kim Clijsters and Belarussian Victoria Azarenka each lead Stosur 4-0 head-to-head, but they are grouped with Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Russian Vera Zvonareva.
The top two players from each group will advance to Saturday’s semi-finals, with the tournament’s climax taking place on Sunday at the Khalifa Tennis Complex.
In addition to a stack of rankings points, big money is up for grabs in the tour finale, with an undefeated champion able to earn as much as $US1.55 million.
Stosur, who won the season-ending doubles title in 2005 with American Lisa Raymond, is guaranteed $US100,000 just for qualifying and will pocket a further $US100,000 for every group win.
After a season of milestones, 26-year-old Stosur will be striving to become the first Australian woman to win the season-ending championship since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.
Round-robin play commences on Tuesday.