WTA Tour: Who will make the WTA Finals?


WTA Tour: The players head East for the Asian Swing!

The WTA now moves to Asia to round out the season. Though the Grand Slam season might be over, there is still plenty of motivation for the top players as they aim to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Thus far, Serena WilliamsSimona Halep and Maria Sharapova have secured their places in the 8 woman event. That means that with 5 places still up for grabs, the top players will be keen to pile on the points over the next 3 weeks at Premier level events in Tokyo, Wuhan and Beijing.

In addition, those players who miss the cut will still want their point score to be as high as possible, given that this year will feature the inaugural edition of the WTA Elite Trophy. Held in Zhuhai, China, the trophy will be a 12 woman round robin event for those players ranked 9-19 (plus a wildcard).

Here, I’ll take a look at the current top 8 on the Road to Singapore and predict whether I think they’ll make the WTA Finals or not.

(Points as of September 14th)

1) Serena Williams- (9945 points)- Serena Williams has been so far ahead this year that she qualified for the WTA Finals just after Wimbledon. Naturally, this autumn will be tough considering her devastating loss to Roberta Vinci in the US Open semi finals, seeing her calendar year ‘Grand Slam’ bid end in the process. Given this and the fact that injury caused Williams to withdraw midway through both Wuhan and Beijing last year,  I wouldn’t be surprised to see little of Williams between now and Singapore.

2) Simona Halep- (5675)- Simona Halep just qualified during her run to the US Open semi finals. Last year in Asia, Halep was below par in losing her opener in Wuhan and withdrawing before the quarter finals in Beijing. Given her recent consistency on hard courts and the fact she’s already qualified and the pressure is off, I expect more from her this year.

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3) Maria Sharapova- (4321)- Despite not having played since Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova qualified just after the US Open finished. Considering this and the leg injury, I expect Sharapova to be rusty but she has little to defend in Wuhan, where she lost in the 3rd round last year. Hopefully, she gets her game together there because she has 1000 points to defend the following week as the reigning champion in Beijing.

4) Petra Kvitova- (3378)- Petra Kvitova stands a good chance of qualifying given her current point score and her liking for the Asian hard courts. Last year, Kvitova won Wuhan and made the Beijing final so will feel especially confident coming into the Asian swing this year. Do I think she’ll qualify? Yes

5) Lucie Safarova- (3222)- Lucie Safarova isn’t too far behind Kvitova but has recently been admitted to hospital due to a bacterial infection. This puts her Asian swing and hopes of reaching the WTA Finals in jeopardy. Last year, Safarova reached the quarters in Tokyo but went out early in Wuhan and Beijing. If she’s healthy enough to play, it could go down to the wire. Do I think she’ll qualify? Likely

6) Flavia Pennetta- (3034)- Flavia Pennetta’s unprecedented run to the US Open title saw her shoot 30 places up the Road to Singapore. Last year, Pennetta failed to progress beyond the 2nd round in the Chinese events but as this is her farewell trip given her decision to retire at the end of the year, she has nothing to lose. Her desire to end her career at the WTA Finals will be high but can she make as big an impact as she did in New York? Do I think she’ll qualify? No

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7) Angelique Kerber- (2970)- Angelique Kerber might not be in the top 10 of the WTA Rankings, but stands a good chance of qualifying based on her performances this calendar year. Traditionally, Kerber does very well in Asia, reaching the semis in Tokyo and the quarters in Wuhan last year. However, she just missed out on qualification last year and given her current ranking of 11, the draws will be trickier for her to negotiate. Do I think she’ll qualify? Yes

8) Carla Suarez Navarro- (2906)- Carla Suarez Navarro is currently on an 8 match losing streak, stretching back to Birmingham in June. Despite reaching 11 quarter finals in her first 13 events, she’s lost all of her confidence since cracking the top 10 in May. Last year, Navarro won all the matches she was supposed to in Asia, losing to Wozniacki in Tokyo and Wuhan and Sharapova in Beijing. However, having already played and lost a match at the International level event in Tokyo, I don’t see her making an impact during the remainder of the year. Do I think she’ll qualify? No

Amongst those between 9-20, I see Karolina Pliskova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Belinda Bencic, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka as the most likely to stand a chance of qualifying.

Next: US Open: Women's Final Prediction

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