Tennis: Singapore takes over from Istanbul as hosts of WTA Championships until 2018

Singapore budding tennis player Maxine Ng, 13, posing for a photo with Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic after performing the coin toss for the WTA Championships semi-final between the two on Saturday night in Istanbul. The WTA Championships will b
Singapore budding tennis player Maxine Ng, 13, posing for a photo with Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic after performing the coin toss for the WTA Championships semi-final between the two on Saturday night in Istanbul. The WTA Championships will begin a new chapter in Singapore next year after it bade farewell to Istanbul on Sunday night. -- PHOTO: WTA

ISTANBUL -The WTA Championships will begin a new chapter in Singapore next year after it bade farewell to Istanbul on Sunday night.

Serena Williams, the newly-crowned winner of the 2013 edition after beating Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, handed the event's official flag to Singapore's Maxine Ng, a 13-year-old budding tennis player in front of the 16,457-strong crowd at the Sinan Erdem Dome.

The Raffles Girls' School student was chosen by the Singapore Tennis Association to help represent Singapore at the handover ceremony. Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Lionel Yeo and Singapore Sports Council chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin were also present.

The Republic will host the next five editions of the annual tournament, which will be expanded from its current six-day format to a 10-day spectacle with sideshows such as concerts, a legends event, future-stars competition and even a forum on women in the business world on the cards. The event is scheduled to take place next October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

WTA chief executive and chairman Stacey Allaster told The Straits Times she is fully confident Singapore's edition will take the association's crown jewel event to another level. She said: "I have no doubt (about Singapore) and I'm super confident, super excited about the WTA Championships coming to Singapore."