The Family Circle Cup has a rich history on green clay that dates back to 1973, the year all of women's professional tennis was united in becoming the WTA. In fact, Family Circle is the longest running title sponsor in men's or women's professional tennis.
At its inaugural staging in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the Family Circle Cup was the first women's tennis event to offer $100,000 in prize money and the first women's event to be broadcast on network television. The tournament moved to Amelia Island, Florida, in 1975, back to Hilton Head in 1977 and finally settled in its current home of Charleston in 2001.
The event's list of champions reads like a roster of all-time greats, with names such as Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Conchita Martínez, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Chris Evert was more dominant than anyone, capturing a tournament-record eight titles.
The Original 9, the nine players who signed $1 contracts with World Tennis publications publisher Gladys Heldman to compete in what would become the Virginia Slims Series in 1970, will reunite at the 40th anniversary of the Family Circle Cup in April 2012.Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Stadium (from 10.00hrs)
1. Varvara Lepchenko vs. Polona Hercog
2. Marion Bartoli vs. Vera Dushevina (NB 12.00hrs)
3. Sabine Lisicki vs. Andrea Hlavackova (NB 13.30hrs)
4. Mirjana Lucic vs. Lucie Safarova
5. Jelena Jankovic vs. Venus Williams (NB 19.00hrs)
6. King/Rodionova vs. Medina Garrigues/ShvedovaAlthea Gibson (from 10.00hrs)
1. Aleksandra Wozniak vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
2. Nadia Petrova vs. Jill Craybas
3. Lucie Hradecka vs. Stefanie Voegele (NB 13.30hrs)
4. Mirza/Vesnina vs. Petrova/Voskoboeva
5. Huber/Raymond vs. Lisicki/ZvonarevaCourt 3 (from 10.00hrs)
1. Paula Ormaechea vs. Galina Voskoboeva
2. Marina Erakovic vs. Anna Tatishvili (NB 12.00hrs)
3. Yaroslava Shvedova vs. Yanina Wickmayer
4. Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova vs. Peschke/SrebotnikVenus & JJ Clashing Under The Lights
The second round of the Family Circle Cup continues on Wednesday and after a packed day session that includes Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki, a stellar night session will pit two of the sport's greats against each other.
Bartoli, this week's No.3 seed, plays her first match of the tournament today, taking on Russia's Vera Dushevina. Bartoli had one of the biggest wins of her career in Miami last week, beating World No.1 Victoria Azarenka en route to the semifinals (Azarenka was a perfect 26-0 this year going into that match).
Lisicki, who won her first WTA title at the Family Circle Cup in 2009 and is this year's No.6 seed, begins against Czech lucky loser Andrea Hlavackova. Lisicki has had a phenomenal last 12 months - she was ranked No.182 in the world coming into last year's Cup, and is currently at a career-high No.13.
The night match will be a blockbuster between former World No.1s and Family Circle Cup champions Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams. Williams made a very successful comeback to the WTA two weeks ago in Miami and won her first round match here in straight sets, but Jankovic not only leads their head-to-head, 6-5, she has also won the last four times they have played on clay.
Varvara Lepchenko and Jill Craybas will also fly the US flag today, Lepchenko facing No.14 seed Polona Hercog and Craybas playing No.13 seed Nadia Petrova.
The doubles also continues with the Top 2 teams in the world in action.