This season’s best eight WTA players are in Shenzhen, the Chinese city now hosting the WTA Finals for the first time. Friday was marked by the glamorous draw ceremony, so let’s see how the ladies are opening the sport’s crown jewel tournament.
World No.1 and reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, who heads the field on her maiden singles appearance at the WTA Finals, showed up at the draw gala in an asymmetrical black dress featuring a white-accented ruffle on the right sleeve.
The Australian has secured top position in the final standings on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen Leaderboard, which means that a brand-new Porsche, whichever model she chooses, will find its home in her garage.
Naomi Osaka looked perfect in a romantic white off-shoulder floor-length dress adorned by ruffle slit. The Japanese is making her second appearance at the WTA Finals, after losing all three of her round-robin matches last year.
Petra Kvitova, one of two players in the field to have previously won the title, wore a black silk dress from RED Valentino, featuring white ruffle trimming and a tie fastening. As we can see, black, white and ruffles are a thing in the WTA glam world.
Belinda Bencic is all smiles on her WTA Finals debut in a classic black dress with button details.
Last year, Elina Svitolina was the only one in pants at the iconic WTA Finals photoshoot and this time she’s repeating the style, again being the sole player not to choose a dress. The defending champion paired a short black leather shirt with khaki pants and red stilettos. The Ukrainian’s daring hairstyle with extra volume in the crown completed the unusual outfit.
Wimbledon champion Simona Halep chose a blue mini dress with an excess extension on the left side.
Karolina Pliskova was the only one sparking in a blue off-shoulder dress.
Canadian Bianca Andreescu, one of three debutantes in the singles field, chose a Chinese-style dress. The US Open champion has won 37 of her 42 matches in an incredible breakout year. The 19-year-old has not lost a single match in straight sets, plus, she’s never lost to any of the players drawn in her Purple Group (against Svitolina she’s 1-0, against Pliskova she’s 1-0, while Halep she hasn’t faced so far).
Our photographer Jimmie48 is also taking us behind the scenes.
The Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen offers a record total prize fund — the purse was $7m in 2018, while now it’s $14m. The singles champion will take home a total of between $4.114m and $4.725m. The 49th edition of the tournament begins on October 27th and runs through until November 3rd.