Women’s Look Forward: Zhuhai

Notice: Undefined variable: page_title in /home/tennisne/public_html/wp-content/themes/dante-child/single.php on line 205

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Tennis News

If the WTA were a John Bunyan book, Zhuhai would be labeled something like the Slough of Afterthought. It’s like winning an Olympic silver medal: It’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not what you’re here for. The new WTA chief recently commented on an idea we’ve been advocating for years, of making the “other” year-end Championships be a play up/qualifying event for the real year-end event, but for now, it remains the province of the also-rans. Which often means that eligible players don’t want to show up.

And, yes, there are indications that that has affected the field in Zhuhai. Timea Bacsinszky didn’t actually play in Singapore — but still, based on the WTA’s player list, she isn’t going to be here. Venus Williams, who vociferously proclaimed she wouldn’t play, apparently will show up (in fact, she was quoted as saying “I can’t wait to play and be part of the last event of the year”), but Belinda Bencic is out (is there something about Swiss players and China?), meaning that two of the six Top Fifteen players eligible to play won’t be here. Also missing, #16 Ana Ivanovic, #22 Victoria Azarenka, #23 Ekaterina Makarova (the latter two, admittedly, injured), and #25 Samantha Stosur. So that’s seven players missing in a field of 11 direct entrants (the twelfth player in the field is wildcard Zheng Saisai). Our field consists of Venus, Carla Suarez Navarro (who will have to hurry from playing doubles in Singapore), Karolina Pliskova, Roberta Vinci, Caroline Wozniacki, Sara Errani, Madison Keys, Elina Svitolina (who would have been the last player with direct entry if everyone had shown up), Jelena Jankovic, Andrea Petkovic (who is as close as this event has to a defending champion; she was last year’s Sofia winner), and Svetlana Kuznetsova, whose Moscow title just let her sneak in.

What makes this event different, apart from the fact that it (was intended to have) had all the players from #9-#19, is the format. You may have noticed that we have only twelve players in the field — more than in Singapore, but fewer than at any other WTA event. They will be playing in a round robin format: Three players in each of four groups. The three-players-in-a-group format of course was tried by the ATP in 2007, and quickly abandoned when they realized that there were real problems with it, but the twelve-woman field is new. Unlike the WTA Championships, the semifinal draw is already known: The winner of Group A (Venus, Keys, Zheng) will face the winner of Group B (Suarez Navarro, Svitolina, Petkovic) in one semifinal; the winner of Group C (Pliskova, Jankovic, Errani) will face the Group D (Vinci, Wozniacki, Kuznetsova) winner in the other.

As far as the rankings go, Bacsinszky’s decision not to play could be a bad one for her hopes of ending the year in the Top Ten. Venus Williams is only 42 points behind her (hm, might that have something to do with Venus’s chance of heart?), and Carla Suarez Navarro only about a hundred points back; Karolina Pliskova also appears to have a faint chance at the year-end #10 spot. Most of the others in the field could at least reach #15 this week.

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.