WTA Finals singles field set as Svitolina, Pliskova qualify

Karolina Pliskova will be playing in her third straight WTA Finals Singapore in 2018. (Photo: AFP/STR)

Czech tennis star and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova became the eighth and final player to qualify for the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global on Thursday (18 October), despite losing her round-of-16 tie at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

The 26-year-old world No. 8 slumped to a 6-1, 6-2 defeat by veteran Vera Zvonareva on Wednesday, but qualified after the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens, the only player who could have overtaken the Czech, also lost her last-16 tie 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in the same tournament.

This is Pliskova’s third straight year at the WTA Finals, which will take place from 21 to 28 October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. She said, “I have such great memories from playing in Singapore in 2016 and 2017, and I can’t wait to close out the year competing against the other elite players of 2018.”

The 2016 US Open runner-up has had another solid season on the WTA circuit, winning the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart in April and last month’s Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she beat new US Open champion Naomi Osaka in the final. She was also runner-up at the Tianjin Open earlier this month.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina booked the seventh spot at the WTA Finals despite not playing this week. The 24-year-old world No. 6 has been a model of consistency this season, winning all three of her final appearances in the Brisbane International in January, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February and the Rome Open in May.

Elina Svitolina won all three of her finals on the WTA circuit in the 2018 season.

This will be her second straight appearance at the WTA Finals, and she said, “Making it to Singapore is my goal every year, so I’m happy to return and be part of the top eight players of the season.”

The duo’s qualifications mean that the field is set for the singles competition at the WTA Finals, the final edition to be held in Singapore. The other players who will be competing for the US$7 million (S$9.6 million) prize money are: Simon Halep, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens.