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Bali to stage new tournament of champions event
September 17th, 2008

The Bali Classic will be transformed next year into one of the most prestigious events on the WTA Tour calendar, offering a $US1 million bonus.

Currently held in the week following the US Open and won on Sunday by Patty Schnyder, the event will be renamed the Tournament of Champions with increased prize money from $US225,000 to $US600,000.

The tournament will take place indoors from November 4-8 at the Bali International Convention Centre with 12 players in four round-robin groups.

It will only be open to players who have won at least one of the season-long International Series events.

The International Series is part of the streamlined WTA Tour, consisting of 30 tournaments covering Australia, Asia, north Africa, the Americas and Europe.

Each event will be part of the Road To Bali with players earning ranking points towards qualification for the season-ending tournament.

The top 10 WTA Tour players who have won at least one International Series tournament and are not participating in the year-end championships in Doha will qualify, along with two wild cards.

A player who wins three International Series events and the Tournament of Champions will collect an additional $1 million bonus.

“Bali has long attracted many of the top players and now we can look forward to welcoming both established names and those who are beginning to make a major impact on the game,” tournament director Kevin Livesey said.

“The prospect of a $1 million bonus will guarantee excitement throughout the year.”


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Schnyder takes Bali Open title
September 15th, 2008

NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Second-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland defeated Austrian teenager Tamira Paszek 6-3 6-0 Sunday to win the Bali Open, her first title for three years.

The 94th-rank Paszek reached the final by upsetting top-seeded Daniela Hantuchova in the semifinals, as well as third- and seventh-seeds Flavia Pennetta and Sara Errani in earlier rounds.

Schnyder, 29, had won 11 prior WTA singles titles including the last one in Cincinnati Open in July 2005.

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Schnyder pounds Petrova to reach Bali tennis final
September 14th, 2008

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AFP) – Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder moved into her second final of the season with a 7-5, 6-1 hammering of Russian Nadia Petrova at the Bali Open on Saturday.

The 29-year-old second seed will play either top seed Daniela Hantuchova or Austrian teenager Tamira Paszek as she seeks her 11th career final.

“This was my best match ever at Bali. I’m so happy to be in the final, I’m ready for it,” said Schnyder.

Schnyder finished runner-up in Bangalore in February behind Serena Williams and is fresh from a US Open quarter-final last week.

“I served well and moved her around on the court,” she said.

“I was able to anticipate her movement. I attacked her second serve and held back a bit on my shots until I saw which way she was moving.”

Schnyder earned the first break for a 4-3 lead only to be broken back. She went ahead again 6-5 as Petrova sent over double-fault before serving it out for a one-set lead.

The Swiss took control in the second with two more quick breaks but needed to save break points in the sixth game before reaching 5-1 with her second ace.

Petrova saved three match points before hitting a backhand into the net to hand Schnyder victory after 69 minutes.

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Ayu and Lavinia vie for Bali slot
September 8th, 2008

Bruce Edmond, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

A local player is assured a place in the main draw of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic with Ayu Fani Damayanti set to meet Lavinia Tananta in an all-Indonesian showdown in Sunday’s qualifying round.

Balinese Ayu, currently ranked 821 in the world, will have to hope her stamina holds up against tenacious baseliner Lavinia, currently ranked 560. The 19-year-old retired early in her semifinal match against Liza Andriyani during last week’s Sportama event in Jakarta due to a strained lower back.

Although Ayu holds a 4-2 edge in head-to-heads against Lavinia, she lost their most recent encounter earlier this year. They will play the first match on Center Court at 10 a.m.

National number one Sandy Gumulya, who defeated Liza for the Sportama title, also has a good chance of making the main draw as she plays India’s Shikha Uberoi, ranked 509 places below her at 774 in the world.

Liza, returning to competition at the age of 29, will face a sterner test against Ukraine’s Olga Savchuk, the world number 123 and top seed in qualifying.

Top seed and world number 12 Daniela Hantuchova warmed up on Saturday in her bid to go one better this year than her 2007 runner-up finish. The 25-year-old Slovak, who lost last year to American Lindsay Davenport, practiced with Russian Nadia Petrova at the Grand Hyatt Bali tennis complex.

Also returning to Bali after a two-year absence is German Anna-Lena Groenefeld, one of two wildcards in the main draw. Although her ranking plummeted almost 200 spots last year due to injuries, the former world number 14 enjoyed a fairy-tale run to the last eight of the U.S. Open last week. The other wildcard in the event is Yaroslava Shvedova.

Also confirmed for the hard-court event are world number 15 Swiss Patty Schnyder, 19th ranked Flavia Pennetta of Italy and her compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who is 27th in the world and the 2006 runner-up. Others to watch include Chinese Li Na and Shuai Peng, 2007 semifinalist Sara Errani of Italy and improving teenagers Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and Tamira Paszek of Austria

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Significant rise in tourist arrivals in Bali
September 7th, 2008

Denpasar, Bali,(ANTARA News) – The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali rose significantly in the first semester of this year, a regional tourism official said.

“According to records, a total of 280,222 foreigners visited Bali in the first semester of this year, an increase of 22.26 percent from 229,198 in the same period last year,” the head of the local tourism service, Gede Nurjaya, said here on Saturday.

He made the statement after speaking at a seminar on “The Impact of Ban on National Flights to Europe on Tourism in Bali.” He said the ban by the European Commission had not affected tourism in Bali much.

But he admitted the ban for European tourists to use national airlines would disrupt distribution of tourists to other provinces and damage the image of the country that had just recovered from the impact of incidents such as terrorism, natural disasters and health scares.

Nurjaya said various efforts had to be made to immediately overcome the slump in the country`s tourism industry. “The central government needs to conduct continuous consultations and cooperation with the EU Commission so that a way out can be immediately found to overcome the shortcomings of the Indonesian airlines,” he said.

He also called on the country`s national airlines to improve their performance, including in the safety aspect in line with the air operator certificate requirements and standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association.

“They must also continue to inform the market about efforts that have been made by the government to improve their quality,” he said.(*)

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Indonesia Among the 13 Biggest Internet Users
September 2nd, 2008

TEMPO Interactive, Denpasar: The Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan Djalil said that internet users in Indonesia reached 13 million people. This makes Indonesia the big 13 internet users in the world. However, 70 percent of the users are in large cities. “The computer use as one way to access information is still very low,” he said in Bali, Tuesday (28/8).

The minister said this in his speech opening the summit for Ministers of Telecommunication and Information Technology for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jimbaran, Bali. The meeting aims to intensify cooperation in spreading information technology among Southeast Asian Nations.

Sofyan Djalil said the equal spread of information technology in every Southeast Asian Nation is expected to stimulate technology growth and the economic competitive power in the region.

Technology development in Southeast Asian Nations, he said, has been growing slowly. However, several efforts have been made such as improving the network for internet and banking access. “The high-speed telecommunication access should be ASEAN’s priority,” he said.

The Director for International Relationship at the Communication and Information Ministry Ikhsan Baidirus said there has been a technology gap between city and rural areas. Around 40,000 villages in Indonesia do not have proper communication facilities. He expected the summit will find a way to make it equal in the Southeast Asian Nations including Indonesia.


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President Yudhoyono to open Asian Beach Games I
September 1st, 2008

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to officially open the Asian Beach Games (ABG) I, an Asian beach sports commpetition in Nusa Dua of Bali, on October 18, 2008.

A release received from the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) said here on Sunday, the plan was conveyed by Chairman of ABG I Organizing Committee Rita Subowo when at a meeting with Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika in Sanur, Bali, on Sunday.

“The president has received us twice and the latest was during a cabinet meeting. The president is scheduled to open the event, while the vice president will close it on October 26,” Ritas said.

With 17 sports events being competed in the event, at least 45 countries with around 3000 athletes have confirmed their participation.

The sports events also include beach football, beach volley ball, jetskying and takraw.

“We have also obtained assurance about the presence of British and Qatary royal families and a number of sports ministers and the Beijing Olympic Committee chairman as well as General Chairman of the international Olympic Committee Jaques Rogge during ceremony,” Rita said.

However security posed a priority during ABG I, especially that it coincides with the first Bali bombing anniversary.

In the meantime, Bali Governor Made Pangkupastika said he would coordinate the security with all relevant agencies in the province.(*)

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