Azarenka, Sharapova to Decide Year-End WTA Championship on ESPN3, ESPN2
Weeklong Coverage from Istanbul, plus 58 Hours from ATP Events in Valencia, Basil
The coveted year-end top ranking in the WTA will be on the line when Victoria Azarenka, the current No. 1, and No. 2 Maria Sharapova lead the field of the top eight women's tennis players in the world in Istanbul, Turkey, for the round-robin TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships on ESPN3 and ESPN2 beginning Tuesday, Oct. 23. ESPN3 will present 22 live hours from the Sinan Erdem Arena with coverage daily through the championship Sunday, Oct. 28. The final match will be aired on ESPN2 on a short delay at 2 p.m. ET with Patrick McEnroe and Jimmy Arias on the call.
The eight players will play in a round-robin format leading to the semifinals - the top two players in each half - and culminated with the championship. The players, in order of current ranking: Azarenka, 2004 champion Sharapova, two-time winner Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, defending champion Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Li Na.
ESPN3 will present two matches per day from the round-robin action Tuesday, Oct. 23 - Friday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The semifinals will be shown Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 a.m. with the championship on ESPN3 and ESPN2 Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m.
The year-end No. 1 ranking will be decided between Azarenka and Sharapova. Azarenka, who has won four of five meetings against Sharapova in 2012, enters the event as No. 1, having held that ranking for all but four weeks since beating Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January. Sharapova held the top spot for one month following her French Open title.
In addition, ESPN3 will present 58 live hours of men's play from the ATP Swiss Indoors Basel from Switzerland, and the ATP Valencia Open 500 in Valencia, Spain, including the championship of both events from Tuesday, Oct. 23 - Sunday, Oct. 28. In Basel, hometown hero Roger Federer won the event for a fifth time last year and will have to contend with Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro. The field in Spain is topped by David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and John Isner.
ESPN3 delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is currently available to 73 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. For fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV or Comcast Xfinity TV, WatchESPN will provide live complete coverage from ESPN2 at WatchESPN.com and through the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets, in addition to ESPN3's multi-screen offering.
WTA Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks
Date Time (ET) Match
Tue, Oct 23 - Fri Oct 26 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. WTA Championships Round Robin Action ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8 a.m. - Noon WTA Championships Semifinals ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
2 - 4 p.m. WTA Championships Final
WTA Championships Final (tape delayed) ESPN3
ATP Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks
Date Time (ET) Match
Tue, Oct 23 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Wed, Oct 24 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Thur, Oct 25 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 ESPN3
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Fri, Oct 26 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Quarterfinals ESPN3
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Quarterfinals ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Semifinals ESPN3
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #1 ESPN3
2 - 4:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #2 ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 9 a.m. - Noon ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Championship ESPN3
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Championship ESPN3
ESPN - All Four Slams, All In One Place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 - 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting this year.
ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call and John McEnroe playing.
ESPN3, now in 73 million homes, carries every major global tennis event on the men's and women's circuit, including all four Grand Slam tournaments, every ATP World Tour 500 and ATP Masters 1000 event and WTA Premier events featuring all the top-seeded players. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011.