Bangalore:Star US tennis player Serena Williams and Russia's Vera Zvonareva are among the top-ranks who will play at the Bangalore Open 2008 WTA tournament to be held here March 3-9.
Serena, 26, has confirmed her participation in the third Sony Ericsson WTA tour championship for which the total prize money has been increased to $600,000 (Rs.24 million), the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) said in a statement here Wednesday.
The winner takes home a whopping $95,500 and 300 ranking points to determine the year-end champion.
"Serena, who is ranked seventh on the WTA tour, 23-year-old Zvonareva, ranked 22, and 20-year-old Sania Mirza are among the top three players participating in the week-long tournament to be held at KSLTA Signature Kingfisher stadium in the city's famous Cubbon Park," said association secretary Sundar Raju.
Incidentally, Serena was to participate in the second edition of the tournament last year but pulled out at the last minute due to sudden illness.
Winner of eight grand slam single titles, Serena is a former world number one player and an Olympic gold medallist in women's doubles. She won the Australian Open in 2007.
As part of the Asian circuit, Bangalore Open comes after two other big tournaments in the Gulf-Qatar Open ($2.5 million prize) and Dubai Open ($1.5 million prize) next month.
The organisers have, however, not informed the total number of players participating in the championship, as more confirmations were awaited.