WTA Finals Singapore: Elite 8

(1) Simona Halep

Titles: Shenzhen, Dubai, Indian Wells

WTA Finals Record: F: 2014

Best Victory: U.S Open QF vs Victoria Azarenka 6-3 4-6 6-4

Worst Loss: Roland Garros R2: vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 5-7 1-6

Simona Halep enters her second WTA Finals campaign as the top seed. The 2014 runner-up has had a season full of ups and downs. The Romanian started the year in outstanding fashion, claiming titles in Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells. However the Romanian’s season will be remembered by her shocking early round losses at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Simona regained her early season form during the North American swing, highlighted by runner-up appearances in Toronto and Cincinnati before reaching the semi-finals in New York. The Romanian’s form during the Asian swing was lacklustre ad plagued by an Achilles injury. After a couple of weeks off and a solid practise block in Singapore, Simona is certainly one of the main contenders this week. Simona seemed to enjoy the Singapore surface last year and will enter the event with great memories after her demolition of Serena Williams during the group stage last year.

 

(2) Garbine Muguruza

Titles: Beijing

WTA Finals Record: First appearance

Best Victory: Wimbledon SF vs Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3

Worst Loss: U.S Open R2 vs Johanna Konta 6-7 7-6 2-6

Garbine Muguruza enters her first WTA Finals campaign as one of the form players at the event. The Spaniard was the clear standout during the Asian swing, reaching the final in Wuhan before claiming the biggest title of her career in Beijing. Muguruza generally performance well at the Grand Slam level, highlighted by her first Grand Slam final appearance at Wimbledon. Garbine has established herself as a big-time player, she certainly seems to rise to the occasion and will be one of the main contenders in Singapore.

 

(3) Maria Sharapova

Titles: Brisbane, Rome

WTA Finals Record: Champion: 2004, F: 2006, 2011, SF 2005, RR: 2014, 2012, 2007

Best Win: Wimbledon QF vs CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 6-7 6-2

Worst Loss: Mimi R1 vs Daria Gavrilova 6-7 3-6

Maria Sharapova’s season has been plagued by injury and illness, however the Russian still managed to record some solid results and did well to finish 3rd in the Race to Singapore despite missing a number of tournaments including the U.S Open. Maria started the year off extremely well in Australia, claiming the title in Brisbane before succumbing to Serena Williams in a competitive final at the Australian Open. Maria also reached the semi-final stage at Wimbledon despite a limited preparation before once again succumbing to Serena Williams. Maria missed the majority of the Asian Swing because of an arm injury and will therefore be one of the freshest of the elite 8 in Singapore, this could work in her favour. Maria has a positive record against everyone at the event except against Flavia Pennetta.

 

(4) Petra Kvitova

Titles: Sydney, Madrid, New Haven

WTA Finals Record: W: 2011 SF: 2013 RR: 2014, 2012,

Best Victory: Madrid SF vs Serena Williams 6-2 6-3

Worst Loss: Wimbledon R3 vs Jelena Jankovic 6-3 5-7 4-6

Petra Kvitova will be competing in her 5th consecutive WTA Finals campaign this year. Kvitova’s form during 2015 was surprisingly consistent. Petra didn’t have too many disastrous losses and generally competed well at the biggest events. The Czech’s season was highlighted by her surprisingly good results during the clay court season where she defeated Serena Williams on route to the title in Madrid. Petra’s results during the grass court season were much worse than expected, suffering a very disappointing 3rd loss to Jelena Jankovic. Petra was diagnosed with Mononucleosis prior to the North American summer, in spite of this Petra did very well to claim the title in New Haven and reach the Quarter-finals in New York for the first time. Unfortunately, Petra was unable to continue that solid form in Asia but the former champion has a wonderful chance to end her season on a high in Singapore

 

(5) Agnieszka Radwanska

Titles: Toyo, Tianjin

WTA Finals Record: SF: 2014, 202 RR: 2013, 2011, 2009 & 2008

Best Victory: Tokyo F vs Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-2

Worst Loss: Roland Garros R1 vs Annika Beck 2-6 6-3 1-6

Agnieszka Radwanska will be making her 5th consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals. The Pole’s early season partnership with Martina Navratilova was a failure, Aga’s struggles were highlighted by an early round loss to Heather Watson at Indian Wells and a disastrous first round loss to Annika Beck at Roland Garros. Aga turned her season around during the British summer, reaching the final in Eastbourne and semi-finals at Wimbledon. It was during the Asian swing that Aga produced her best tennis, claiming titles in Tokyo and Tianjin without dropping a set. The Pole arrives in Singapore full of confidence, this looks like a good opportunity for Aga to claim the biggest title of her career.

 

(6) Angelique Kerber

Titles: Charleston, Stuttgart, Birmingham, Stanford

WTA Finals Record: RR: 2013, 2012

Best Win: Stuttgart R2 vs Maria Sharapova 2-6 7-5 6-1

Worst Loss: Australian Open R1 vs Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6 6-0 1-6

Angelique Kerber has had a strange season, claiming an impressive 4 titles at the premier level but failing to reach the second week at a Grand Slam. Kerber was successful on every surface and has been part of several epic matches this year. Most of the best matches this year have featured the German. Kerber was dealt tough draws at Grand Slams, twice running into a red-hot Garbine Muguruza before losing to a determined Victoria Azarenka in New York. Angie played a lot of tennis during the Asian swing and looks to be stumbling into Singapore after clearly suffering from injury in the Hong Kong final a last week. Nevertheless, Angie remains a huge threat this week, she has a good time to recover and has a good record against most of the elite 8 and will be one of the main contenders this week.

 

(7) Flavia Pennetta

Titles: U.S Open

WTA Finals record: First appearance

Best Win: U.S Open SF vs Simona Halep 6-1 6-3

Worst Loss: Tianjin R1 vs Lyudmyla Kichenok 3-6 5-7

Flavia Pennetta will end her career in style by competing in her first career WTA Finals campaign. It has been a fairy-tale couple of months for the Italian who stunned the tennis world in New York where she defeated Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep on route to her first Grand Slam title. Flavia’s early season form was poor, highlighted by first round losses at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. The Italian’s form in the lead up to New York was also quite poor, her victory in New York really came out of nowhere. Flavia struggled to re-group during the Asian swing but she did enough to reach Singapore. Flavia will be looking to end her career on a high in Singapore, anything is possible.

 

(8) Lucie Safarova

Titles: Doha

WTA Finals Record: First appearance

Best Victory: Doha F vs Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-3

Worst Loss: Miami R1 vs Johanna Larsson 6-7 2-6

Lucie Safarova’s season started off in horrible fashion with a first round loss to Yaroslava Shvedova at the Australian Open. The Czech recovered from that loss in Doha where she claimed the biggest title of her career. Lucie’s greatest result came at Roland Garros, reaching her first Grand Slam final, eventually succumbing to Serena Williams in a tough 3 set match. Lucie’s form deteriorated as the season went on, having a disappointing grass court season before being struck down by a bacterial infection which stopped her from competing during the Asian swing. Lucie returned to the courts in Linz and Moscow but suffered two first round losses, Lucie seems to have lost a lot of weight and muscle and looks like the weakest link in Singapore.

 

This promises to be a very exciting, competitive week of tennis in Singapore. There numerous legitimate potential champions this week, a wonderful opportunity for everyone to claim the biggest title outside of the 4 Grand Slams. 

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