The reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza became the latest WTA singles player to book her berth at the prestigious WTA Finals to be held in Singapore from October 23-30. This is the third consecutive year that the 23-year-old will be appearing at the season-ending championships.
In 2014, Muguruza qualified for the doubles event alongside her compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro. Last year, she backed it up by earning a spot in singles as well as doubles and had an impressive campaign.
In singles, she sizzled in the group stage, going 3-0. Her run came to an end at the hands of the eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals in a gruelling three-setter. In doubles, she reached the final with Suarez Navarro.
The Spaniard thus became the sixth player to qualify for singles in 2016, joining Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova.
“I am very excited to come back to the WTA Finals in Singapore,” said Muguruza on securing the much-coveted spot.
“Two years ago I made it in doubles, and this will be my second year in a row playing singles – both times I had a great experience and am happy to be going back,” she added.
Muguruza has had an inconsistent season, the biggest highlight of which was winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open. She achieved it in style by prevailing over the defending champion and World No. 1 Serena Williams in straights sets in the summit clash. Interestingly, that happened to be the only competitive event of the year in which she reached the final.
The World No. 6, meanwhile, had an injury scare a couple of days back while playing at the WTA Linz where she was the top seed. During her quarter-final match against the 62nd ranked Viktorija Golubic, she fell awkwardly and sprained her ankle that forced her to retire with the two locked at 4-4 in the third set.
Cibulkova, Kuznetsova in the race for a spot
As the WTA Finals approaches, the race to grab the last couple of spots hots up. 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova beat fellow hopeful Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to her fifth final of the year at WTA Linz. She will meet Golubic who received a walkover from the third seed Madison Keys due to a respiratory illness.
The Slovakian can readily confirm her place in Singapore by capturing the title if the two-time Major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova fails to win the Tianjin Open. The Russian has reached the semi-finals in the Chinese city where she will face Alison Riske. She will need to win two matches on Sunday for the title.
The World No. 8 is leaving no stone unturned in trying to play the year-ending tournament for the first time since 2009. She has even taken a wildcard at her home event at the Kremlin Cup next week to bolster her chances further.