ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA announced today that the doubles pairing of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic have qualified for the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, set to take place from Oct. 27 - Nov. 3.
The duo become the third of eight doubles teams to secure their spot at the year-end event, joining Hsieh Su-Wei/Barbora Strycova and Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka in Shenzhen, China for a record-breaking $14 million in prize money.
Since closing out their 2018 season by lifting the Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Babos and Mladenovic kicked off their 2019 campaign by posting a runner-up finish at the Australian Open – their fifth career Grand Slam doubles final together.
During the clay court swing, the pair claimed back-to-back titles at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup followed by their second career Grand Slam doubles victory as a team at Roland Garros.
Following their Grand Slam triumph in Paris, Mladenovic ascended to WTA Doubles World No.1 for the first time in her career. Last year, Babos reached the top spot, becoming the first player from Hungary - male or female - to reach the No.1 ranking in singles or doubles.
"I’m very proud of us for qualifying for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen for the third time with my best friend Kiki," said Babos. "The WTA Finals is a special place for me, as I’ve won the doubles title the last two years. It won’t be easy, but I’m looking forward to defending the title once again."
Mladenovic added: "This has been a memorable year for us, from winning our second Grand Slam title together in my home country, to becoming World. No.1, and now qualifying for the year-end championships. I can’t wait to compete in Shenzhen and meet all of the amazing fans there."
Babos and Mladenovic will arrive in Shenzhen as the defending champions in their third appearance as a team at the WTA Finals. They will aim to become the first pair to defend the WTA Finals title since Cara Black and Liezel Huber in 2007-08. On their debut showing in 2015, the team fell during the round-robin stage of the competition.
This will mark the fifth consecutive year that Babos will compete at the WTA Finals, where she will aim for her third consecutive doubles crown. Preceding her 2018 victory with Mladenovic, the Hungarian teamed up with Andrea Sestini Hlavackova in 2017 to capture the trophy for the first time.
For Mladenovic, this will be her fourth WTA Finals appearance in doubles, having reached the semifinals in 2016 partnering with her compatriot Caroline Garcia.
The 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen features the world’s best players vying for a record-breaking US$14 million in prize money and two of the most prestigious titles in women’s tennis.
The Top 8 singles players and doubles teams on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen – which includes 53 WTA tournaments and four Grand Slams – will compete in a round-robin format with the singles champion lifting the Billie Jean King Trophy and the doubles champions earning the WTA Finals Martina Navratilova Trophy.
The winner of the Porsche Race to Shenzhen - the player who finishes in pole position leading into the WTA Finals - will not only seal a spot at the season-ending showpiece, but also be congratulated with a new Porsche.
The Porsche Race to Shenzhen Leaderboard is updated each Monday (every two weeks during Grand Slams events) and can be found at www.ShiseidoWTAFinalsShenzhen.com.
Tickets to the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen are on sale at www.ShiseidoWTAFinalsShenzhen.com.