It was a race down to the wire, but when Carla Suarez Navarro lost her quarterfinal match at the Kremlin Cup on Thursday, the field for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global was set in stone. The last four to round out the elite eight were Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Flavia Pennetta, and Lucie Safarova. Just like the first half of the field, the level of competition from the second half has been top notch, particularly towards the end of the season.
The fifth seed, Agnieszka Radwanska, is a WTA finals veteran, landing in the top eight four times before. Her best showing was a semifinal appearance in 2012, but can she beat that performance this year in Singapore? The Pole came on strong at the end of the season with a title at Tokyo and a semifinal run in Beijing.
Angelique Kerber had a strong season with four WTA titles at Charleston, Stuttgart, Birmingham, and Stanford. She also played in the WTA Finals in both 2012 and 2013, giving her a bit of experience to fall back on. However, the German has struggled at the major tournaments this year and in the spotlight towards the end of the season.
Looking at Flavia Pennetta‘s stats, you wouldn’t guess that her season has been a fairytale. The Italian only won 26 matches, but the biggest of those, the US Open title, defined her season and career. This is her first WTA finals, but it would be silly to count her out after her performance at Flushing Meadows.
The last qualifying spot went to Czech player Lucie Safarova, who propelled herself upwards in the WTA rankings with an appearance in the finals against Serena Williams at the French Open. She continued her momentum near the end of the season, even taking fellow WTA finalist Petra Kvitova to three sets in the New Haven finals. It will be interesting to see if she can maintain this level of play on such a big stage.
The WTA Finals in Singapore is also a special tournament for Women’s Tennis Blog as our photographer Jimmie48 will be there all week. Yesterday he attended the glamorous draw ceremony, as well as the practice session of Maria Sharapova and the WTA Rising Stars Invitational. Check out all the photos here.