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WTA Finals 2016: Singles draws released - how they work

976   //    21 Oct 2016, 18:31 IST

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 21:  (Top Row L-R) Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, Garbine Muguruza of Spain, Madison Keys of the United States, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, (front row L-R) Simona Halep of Romania, Angelique Kerber of Germany and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pose on stage during the Official Draw Ceremony prior to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Marina Bay Sands on October 21, 2016 in Singapore.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The year-ending WTA Finals are due to begin on the 24th of October, 2016 in the city-state of Singapore, with the top 8 WTA players participating in the event. World No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who ascended to the top following her win at the US Open this year, is the top seed here, and it was recently revealed that the German ace will end 2016 as the top-ranked women‘s singles player.

Meanwhile, the tournament will see Serena Williams absent for the second year in a row. Williams has had an incredibly consistent year herself, and made three of four Grand Slam finals – all barring the US Open, where, for the second year running, she lost in the semi-finals.

The American, regarded as one of the greatest players in tennis history, beat Angelique Kerber to the title at Wimbledon to win her 22nd Grand Slam singles title – equalling the Open Era record of German ace Steffi Graf.

Although she was overtaken in the rankings by Kerber, Williams’ singular consistency ensured an easy qualification going into the year-ending tournament. But given that the American has struggled with injury during the Olympic Games and afterwards, and that she is putting out a game consistently superior to most other players on the circuit today despite being older and having struggled longer with injuries , it makes sense that the American ace would rest for the remainder of the season.

Kerber herself has perhaps been the pinnacle of consistency in the 2016 season. After winning the Australian Open this year with a win over Williams, the German experienced a slight lull before again making finals at Wimbledon – perhaps considered Serena’s favourite grounds, and then the US Open, where she won her second Grand Slam, Kerber also did well at the Olympic Games.

Although those would not in any way contribute to her points tally,  Kerber would end her Olympic jaunt with a silver medal, losing to Puerto Rican sensation Monica Puig in the finals.

Williams’ withdrawal from the Finals also negated the American’s outside chance at regaining the World No. 1 title to end the year, giving Kerber her first year-end No. 1 title.

At the finals, players will be grouped into two groups of four each. The teams, labelled the Red Group and the White Group will each see four of the top 8 seeds.

Scores here will be tabulated in a round robin format that is used for many other sports. Each player in Team Red and Team White will play the other once, with the two players chalking the most wins in each team receiving a shot at the semi-finals. The top-ranked in the Red Group will play No. 2 in the White Group, and vice-versa, to decide the finalists here.

There is still one spot open for qualification; with Spanish ace Carla Suarez Navarro withdrawing from the Kremlin Cup due to injury, her shot at the WTA Finals has ended; Kuznetsova is through to the semi-finals at the event and will play Ukrainian ace Elina Svitolina for a spot in the finals tonight.

Konta, who is the British No. 1, is into Round 3 at the Hong Kong Open.

It currently looks as though it will be Kuznetsova to qualify for the final spot, although Konta has made mammoth strides in her career in the 2016 season.

Here are the groups:

Red Group

Angelique Kerber

Simona Halep

Dominika Cibulkova

Madison Keys

White Group

Agnieszka Radwanska

Karolina Pliskova

Garbine Muguruza

Svetlana Kuznetsova OR Johanna Konta

Play will commence on the 24th of October, 2016 in Singapore as the Round Robin Stages kick off.

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