Man at His Best

2017 WTA Finals Singapore: 8 Players and Pairs to Watch Out For

It's heating up.

BY Editors | Oct 16, 2017 | Fitness & Health

Simona Halep, one of the top 8 single and pairs to watch out for.

 

We have less than 10 days to go until the BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global takes centre court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub. The Porsche Race to Singapore has shaped up to be an exciting mix of breakthrough debutantes and veteran stars. With only one spot remaining in the Singles field and the Doubles game, here are eight Singles players and Doubles teams to keep your eyes on as we draw closer to the finals. 

 

Simona Halep
Latest World No. 1.

Current World No. 1 Halep is the only player to make four consecutive appearances at the WTA Finals Singapore. Bolstered by 10 consecutive quarterfinal-or-better performances, the Romanian quickly rose through the ranks and finally clinched top spot when she defeated Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals of the China Open.

In the lead up to her qualification for the Finals, Halep gained praise from WTA Finals Legend Ambassador Lindsay Davenport, who said "I love to watch her story develop this year and her ability to work through the emotional part of tennis. You watch her play; she has such an amazing game. She's so fast, she's so fit. And now she's been so honest with everybody with what she's going through with herself and how she battles herself out on the court." 

"I loved her quotes on the court after the French Open," Davenport continues. "Anyone in that situation, where they're up and they're not able to win and can say it's not my time, I went through that, and you know what, I'm going to try again. I've developed an enormous amount more respect for her this year.”

 

Jelena Ostapenko
Gatecrasher and debutant.

As the 7th player to qualify for the WTA Finals Singles field, Ostapenko had a breakout season which saw her win her maiden Grand Slam title at the Roland Garros and second WTA title at the KEB Hana Bank Incheon Airport Korea Open (Seoul).

The 20-year-old Latvian saw a spectacular season highlighted by her first Grand Slam win at Roland Garros in June. She also finished as a runner-up at the Volvo Car Open (Charleston) and semifinalist at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Reaching her second major quarterfinal at Wimbledon, the Latvian also had a third-round run at the US Open.

Ostapenko also played her first full year on the WTA in 2016, and has since improved her ranking, gatecrashing to the top ten in women's tennis with a current career-high ranking of No. 7 in both WTA and Porsche Race to Singapore rankings.

 

Caroline Wozniacki
Consistency is key.

After reaching a total of seven WTA singles finals this season, and clinching her 26th career title by retaining her Pan Pacific title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Wozniacki breathed a sigh of relief when she extended her streak of winning at least one title per year to 10 years, since 2008.

The Danish is the fourth-most among active players (surpassed only by Serena and Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova) with 26 WTA singles title (21 on hardcourt) and also advanced to the final match at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Miami Open, Aegon International Eastbourne, Ericsson Open in Bastad, and the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Making her fifth appearance at the WTA Finals, she is a former finalist at the event, having reached the championship match in 2010 when the tournament was held in Doha.

 

Venus Williams
The resurgence.

Williams will be making her fifth showing at the WTA Finals, and second in Singapore—she made her first trip to Singapore back in 2015 as a first alternate and spent time with local kids.

Lifting the Billie Jean King trophy in 2008 at Doha, Williams went undefeated in the group stage where she won against her sister Serena Williams, and overcome Vera Zvonareva in the championship match. Will she lift the trophy again this year? 

The American champion enjoyed one of her best seasons this year, making the final of Wimbledon and the Australian Open as well as the semis at the US Open. This will also her first return to the world top since 2011, the year she was diagnosed with strength-sapping Sjogren's Syndrome.

 

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua
Double trouble from Down Under.

As the first-ever all-Australian doubles team to make it for the WTA Finals, the pair reached six finals overall in 2017 and lifted the title at Alya Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur, the Internationaux de Strasbourg and the Aegon Classic Birmingham. They are also the first all-Australian women's pairing to make the title match in Roland Garros.

The duo's appearance at the 2017 WTA Finals is long over due—Dellacqua was forced to withdraw from the 2015 WTA Finals (having qualified with partner Yaroslava Shvedova) after suffering a concussion sustained at that year’s China Open in Beijing. Barty’s appearance in Singapore caps a dream return to the sport for the 21-year-old, who took a break from tennis after the 2014 US Open and only returned in the summer of 2016.

 

Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina (Russian)
Back to defend the crown.

One of the best doubles teams of the last five years, winning three major titles, Olympic Gold and 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, they will be making their third appearance in Singapore in the hopes of becoming the first team to defend their title since Cara Black and Liezel Huber in 2008.

The pairs qualified for the WTA Finals in each of the last four years save 2015, winning the title in 2016 and reaching the final in 2013. They also won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title for the first time this year and were crowned champions at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 

Chan Yung-Jan aka Latisha and Martina Hingis
A duo to watch.

Fun fact: The duo met during a rainy delay at the Australian Open this year, where Hingis offered Latisha and her sister half the court to practice. Today, the Swiss-Taiwanese pair currently takes the top seed in both the WTA and Porsche Race to Singapore ranking.

The pair won nine titles this year, including their first Grand Slam title together at the US Open and are currently in the midst of a staggering 18-match winning streak, and will go into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global as one of the favourites.

Hingis is also the youngest ever grand slam champion, and one of the only players to have been World No. 1 in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Latisha’s power from the baseline and a preference for playing the forehand side complements Hingis’ strengths.

Latisha came face to face with her sister, Angel (partnering Zhang Shuai), at opposite sides of the court at the final of the US Open—an emotional feat for the sisters since their split earlier this year.

 

Caroline Garcia
An electrifying addition.

Interesting progression of her career and it’s all tightly linked to Singapore. Garcia will be the first tennis player to play at WTA Finals Singapore under three different categories—2015 WTA Rising Stars Invitational, qualified with Kristina Mladenovic in the Doubles field in 2016 WTA Finals and potentially 2017 WTA Finals Singles.

The Frenchwoman was barely among the list of top WTA Finals contenders but has currently reeled off 11 wins in a row and claiming the two biggest titles of her career at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open and the China Open. 

The 23-year-old’s stronger and faster volleys allow her to dominate rallies against higher ranked opponents. At 17, she was touted as a future No. 1 by Andy Murray.

 

For more information on the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global premium hospitality programme, visit the Racquet Club section on the 2017 WTA Finals website or email sg.hospitality@lagardere-se.com for enquiries on the club. Prices include GST and exclude booking fee.


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