WTA Finals Race: Wozniacki, Stephens, Kvitova



It is in the middle October, and next week the top 8 players are at the WTA Finals in Singapore. On Wednesday, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova qualified, joining Simona Halep, Caro Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens.

Halep’s back issues flared up enough for her to withdraw. Holland’s Kiki Bertens will take her spot.

Will they go out there and really battle? Mostly, but over the years in Singapore, a few people couldn’t run fast, or they were so exhausted. Right now, we don’t know until they get on the court, but day after day — they have to play three matches, wins or lose —so we will discover who really wants it.

There were some incredible matches last year. Kvitova, who reached the final and had a solid chance, but she lost 6–2, 4–6, 6–3 to Aga Radwanska, when the Pole was healthy and she out-thought everyone. Aga has been hurt over the past year so she isn’t in Singapore, but Kvitova is right there. The Czech has had a some terrific wins this season, but in the fall, she has been so-so at best. Will she rise? Perhaps, as Kvitova won the WTA Final in 2011, knocking out Vika Azarenka in three fun sets.

Kerber, too, is playing once again, but she hasn’t won the event. In 2016, she was on top of it, but she lost toDomi Cibulkova, who was on fire towards the end of the season. Cibulkova isn’t in this draw, having plummeted to No. 27.

Last year in October, Wozniacki won the event, for the first time, and she has qualified so many times. Back in Doha, she reached the final in 2010 against Kim Clijsters, who is now retired, and the Belgian overcame Wozniacki 6–3, 5–7, 6–3, which was pretty close. In 2017, in the final in Singapore, Wozniacki settled down and cracked her wonderful backhand. She was thrilled, which is why a few more months later, she won the 2018 Australian Open, the first time she had won a Grand Slam. Obviously, she was thrilled, but the most important thing is that not only was she confident, but she has improved her forehand and her returns. Maybe she can win it again next week? She is right there.

Who is playing the best in the event?

Kerber just split with the coach, Wim Fissette, andhad a pretty decent year. But, since she won Wimbledon, she has slipped. Winning Singapore would be almost shocking. 

The young Osaka certainly has a chance to win it. Kvitova has been struggling during the fall, and the same goes with American Stephens, is not playing well at all now. Pliskova looked awful in Moscow, while Svitolina has been very shaky.

Who will win it?

My vote for the top three in Singapore: Wozniacki, Osaka and Kvitova.

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