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Sunday, October 23, 2016

WTA Finals 2016 Singapore

Since the US Open ended six weeks ago, WTA players have been on the “Asian Swing”, the Road to Singapore. These six weeks of tournaments make up the end of their ten-month season and lead to the WTA Finals Singapore.

Unlike other WTA tournaments, Singapore is not single-elimination, but a round-robin for two groups of four Singles players. Each player plays three matches, and the top two players in each group face off against the other group in two semi-final matches and an eventual championship match.

This year’s WTA Finals feature the tour’s Top 8 players. Since the #2 ranked player Serena Williams pulled out due to injury, the #9 ranked player, Svetlana Kuznetsova, qualifies. The two alternates will be Johanna Konta and Carla Suarez Navarro.

#1 Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber has dominated this year but this format against the WTA’s best might prove hard for her because essentially there is no lead-in matches for her to gain momentum. Does that mean I envision her, in three matches, losing two matches or being taken to three sets in any of her wins? Yes

#3 Simona Halep
Simona Halep is a grinder who will stretch pretty much every match to three sets. When healthy and having rested these past few weeks, she can win two or all three matches. She’s not one to make many errors while two of her opponents, Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova, do.

# 6 Madison Keys
Madison Keys does her best in big tournaments and has gotten underrated, mainly because she has not shown consistency in the smaller tournaments and throughout the year. The WTA Finals can be that next step she needs and the tournament format plays to her strengths, in that she can go down swinging, knowing it’s not one and out. This ease of pressure might relax her as she powers through her three matches.

#7 Dominika Cibulkova
Dominika Cibulkova has the energy to outlast Kerber and Halep. If she can keep her unforced errors down, then a win against Keys is likely. Do I see her winning all three matches? No, but her performance will decide the second player to advance, if it’s not her.


#2 Agnieszka Radwanska
Aga Radwanska won last year’s WTA Finals by outlasting her opponents. I can see a repeat of this performance because, like Kerber, she’s not one to make many errors while all three opponents, in this group, do.

#4 Karolina Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova experienced many peaks and valleys this year, with her best run occurring in consecutive tournaments in August and September. Pliskova won the Western & Southern Open and lost in the Finals at the US Open. Both matches were against Angelique Kerber. Pliskova has started to show some variety in her game but hers is essentially a flat-power game with not much propensity to chase down balls. In this group, because of her opponents’ styles, she can easily win two games.

#5 Garbiñe Muguruza
Garbiñe Muguruza suffered an ankle injury in the Quarterfinals at the Generali Ladies Linz tournament less than two weeks ago. I expected her to withdraw from the WTA Finals. She hasn’t and beforehand, for the most part, had not played well since winning the French Open in June. The matchups in this group are to her liking, provided her mobility is not hampered and she’s willing to chase down balls.

#8 Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Kuznetsova has played a lot of tournaments and matches to make it to the WTA Finals. She has not fared well against these top players. Momentum is on her side but fatigue might play a factor.

WHITE GROUP: Aga Radwanska, Garbiñe Muguruza

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