The Williams sisters are both in the Maroon group with Dinara Safina and Elena Demetieva both of Russia. Making up the White group are Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic and the Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva. The groups' names are taken from the flag of Qatar.
“It doesn't bother me at all,” Serena said. “We're always in the same half of the draw, so I'm used to it.”
According to the rules of play, the players within the two groups are to play each other. Round robin scoring is composed of matches won but also determined by the number of sets won by each round robin player.
The top players in each group according to the round robin results will then play the second placed player in the other group in the semifinals. Semifinal winners will make up the two finalists.
Head to head Serena Williams leads Venus Williams 9-8, including winning their last meeting at the US Open quarterfinals 7-6(8-6), 7-6(9-7) in September. However in July, Venus took their final round Wimbledon meeting 7-5, 6-4.
Serena is the only player in the draw to have previously won the event, having taken the title in 2001. Each day the Tennis Channel and ESPN2 will televise the action live in the USA.
ROUND ROBIN GROUP ALLOCATIONS (numeric prefix denotes seeding)
1. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
4. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
6. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)
8. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
2. Dinara Safina (RUS)
3. Serena Williams (USA)
5. Elena Dementieva (RUS)
7. Venus Williams (USA)
ORDER OF PLAY
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
1. Kuznetsova vs. Zvonareva
2. Jankovic vs. Ivanovic
3. Safina vs. V.Williams