By Tom Degun

Serena Williams_with_WTA_Trophy_Istanbul_October_28_2012October 30 - Kazan, Mexico City, Singapore and Tianjin have been shortlisted to host the prestigious Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour Championships from 2014 to 2016.

The four cities in Russia, Mexico, Singapore and China respectvely were selected following an initial phase that saw 43 interested parties expressing interest in hosting the showpiece season-ending event of women's tennis for three consecutive years.

The prestigious competition features the world's top eight female singles players and top eight female doubles teams.

The winning city will be announced in the spring of 2013.

"The WTA Championships is today recognised as one of a handful of truly blue chip international events, currently delivering over $140 million (£87 million/€108 million) of economic and media value to the host city," said WTA chair and chief executive Stacey Allaster.

"Our plans for developing additional interactive events including a three day fan festival will ensure the benefits to our next host city partner are even greater.

"We were delighted with the 43 expressions of interest we received and in finalising our candidate cities; we believe we have an outstanding shortlist from which we will find the next host for the world's premier sporting event for women."

If Kazan's bid is successful it would be another major event added to a portfolio that already includes next year's Summer Universiade, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 2012 WTA Championships took place in Istanbul on Sunday (October 28) with America's reigning Olympic champion Serena Williams (pictured top) defeating Russia's Maria Sharapova in 6-4, 6-3 in a one-sided final.

Istanbul has staged the competition since 2011 and 2013 will be the final year that it is staged in the Turkish city.

Turkish fans_at_final_of_2012_WTA_Final_October_28_2012More fans than ever watched this year's WTA Final in Istanbul where Serena Williams beat Russia's Maria Sharapova in the final

But the 2012 edition of the event has already registered the highest attendance for the competition in 13 years and set record broadcast and digital audience milestones.

The 2012 Championships also broadcast more than 500 hours of coverage in 167 countries through 22 international television broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date.

The event made its debut in Boca Raton, Florida in 1972 - where Chris Evert claimed victory - and after being staged in various American cities including Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the event was first staged outside the United States when it went to Munich in Germany in 2001, when Williams was given a walkover in the final against fellow American Lindsay Davenport

Following a return to Los Angeles from 2002 until 2005, it has since been staged in Madrid, Doha and Istanbul.

Martina Navratilova has been by far the most successful player in the Championships, having won eight singles titles and 12 doubles titles.

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