The top players are racing to make the final event of the each tour! This event is the most prestigious after the four Grand Slam tournaments, and it is every players at the beginning of the year to qualify. It works the same for both the ATP and the WTA. The top 8 singles players, and top 8 doubles players will make it into the draw. The actual tournament is a round robin format in singles. The players are split into two groups, and the top 2 players from each group advance to the semifinals of the single-elimination phase. The doubles at the WTA Finals and the ATP World Tour Finals follows the same format as singles. I’ll put the ATP World Tour Finals aside since there is abound a month and a lot of points up for grabs.
With only 10 days out, only 4 players have enough points to ensure qualification in singles! That’s ridiculous! In years past, 4 or more players would have qualified before the beginning of October. This year has been different due to the increased amount of competition in the top 20. There is very little among the players that is separating them in the rankings. There is no player, other than Serena Williams, who has had a consistently solid year. Only 3 players qualified this year before September: Serena, Simona Halep, and Maria Sharapova. However, Halep had a rough patch losing in the early rounds during the clay court and grass court seasons. Sharapova lost has played one match since losing to Serena at Wimbledon, so there is a question as to whether or not she will even be able to play.
We already know that Serena has no plans to play due to a loss of motivation, so if Sharapova withdraws, then only one of the top 3 players will compete in Singapore. Halep has also had injury struggles recently so it is possible that the Finals will have none of the top 3 players. Alright, that is definitely a stretch, but there have been many injuries and emotional struggles throughout the season. I also plan to write that story soon as well. For now, my point is that this year’s Finals is unique in that we still don’t know who will be competing. Garbiñe Mugurza qualified after making the final of Beijing, and the fourth qualifier (instead of fifth due to Serena’s withdrawal) was announced just yesterday: Petra Kvitova. The next two potential qualifiers are Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska, who are guaranteed spots if they win their current tournaments in Hong Kong and Tianjin, respectively.
This week we will see tournaments in Linz, Hong Kong, and Tianjin come to an end. That will leave the tournaments in Moscow and Luxembourg as the final hopes for a handful of players who are still in reach of the Finals. For me the best bests are Kerber, Radwanska, Safarova, and either Pennetta or Bacsinszky. We will find out soon enough, and I will be looking forward to what the WTA Finals has in store.