Who’s the favourite ahead of the WTA Finals?
The end of season showpiece is just a matter of days away as the eight best players on the women’s tour face off.
However, the Singapore crowd will be robbed of seeing world number one Simona Halep in action. The current French Open champion has withdrawn with a back injury.
One other notable omission is Serena Williams. The former top seed made two Grand Slam finals on her comeback from giving birth, but this wasn’t enough to force herself into contention.
That being said we’ve picked out some of the players who could have a big say in where the title goes.
The one to beat
Angelique Kerber assumes the number one seeding following Halep’s injury. The German has had a relatively consistent year.
Kerber reached the semi-final of the Australian Open, before taking the Wimbledon crown in July.
This meant despite a poor autumn she qualified on 10th September, the earliest of any of the eight contenders on show.
Her powerful serve and battling qualities on the court are admired by fans, plans and coaches respectively.
Kerber won’t give this one up without a fight.
Caroline Wozniacki is firmly in contention here. She bagged her first Grand Slam title in Australia in January.
Since then, she hasn’t progressed past the fourth round of a Slam.
Nonetheless, Wozniacki won the tournament last year and is back in the upper echelons of the game.
After her China Open victory earlier this month she could well go deep into this tournament again.
There’s one girl on the rise in Naomi Osaka and a maverick in Sloane Stephens that are making their WTA Finals debut this year.
Osaka won hearts and minds when she claimed the US Open in September. The 20-year-old secured her maiden Grand Slam title and was propelled to stardom.
She cuts a humble and unassuming figure off court. But it’ll be her unflustered composure and deadly focus that could see her progress.
Stephens was defending the US title Osaka won, but couldn’t find the winning formula this year. A French Open final loss to Halep was as good as it got.
Nonetheless when Stephens is on a roll and full of confidence it’s hard to stop her momentum.
It’ll be intriguing to see what frame of mind the American is in.
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