The 2016 WTA Tour Finals field is not entirely set at the time of writing. Svetlana Kuznetsova is still on the outside looking in, however, if she wins the WTA Moscow final on Saturday then she will qualify for Singapore. If not, then Johanna Konta will make the year-end event. Otherwise, the other seven entrants in the field are set with tournament play in Singapore set to start on Sunday.
The tour finals follows a unique format on the WTA. Firstly, the eight entrants are divided into two groups of players. They play a round-robin format before the top-two players from each group advance to the knockout stages. From there, it’s the semifinals and the final. This year the groups are as follows:
No. 1 Angelique Kerber (Australian Open/US Open champion)
No. 3 Simona Halep (Montreal winner, Madrid winner)
No. 6 Madison Keys (Montreal runner-up, Rome runner-up, Birmingham winner)
No. 7 Dominika Cibulkova (Wuhan runnerup, Eastbourne winner, Madrid runner-up)
No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska (Beijing winner, Australian Open semifinalist)
No. 4 Karolina Pliskova (Cincinnati winner, US Open runnerup)
No. 5 Garbine Muguruza (French Open champion)
No. 8 Either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Johanna Konta
Angelique Kerber, the World No. 1, enters the tournament following a season that saw her win two Grand Slam titles. She opened the Grand Slam year with a title in Melbourne Park and concluded it with a title in Flushing Meadows. In between, she also made the Wimbledon final, and those results have all factored into her holding top spot on tour.
However, Kerber hasn’t won a tournament since Flushing Meadows, something that has not been due to a lack of entries. The World No. 1 has struggled with some minor injuries of late, and she has some poor finishes in tournaments as a result.
Arguably the two hottest players on tour right now are two players that will not be in the event. Petra Kvitova has enjoyed an outstanding fall, one that saw her win the Wuhan title. However, strong results came too late for the Czech as she failed to qualify based on her poor start to the 2016 season.
Caroline Wozniacki is another player that has done well lately. She won the Hong Kong title last weekend, and about a month ago she won the Tokyo title. Those results followed a stellar performance at the 2016 US Open that saw her make a nice run to the tournament’s semifinals. However, like Kvitova, Wozniacki did not put a full season together, and that has kept her out of the tour finals.
Radwanska, the defending champion in Singapore, is the hottest player in the field at the moment. The World No. 3 often finds her way into the thick of things, and she won the Premier Mandatory event in Beijing earlier this month. That title added to another one in New Haven just ahead of the US Open. The Polish player is the one looking dangerous, and she seems the most likely player to advance to the knock-out stages.
The tournament starts on Sunday the 23rd and proceeds for a week. The final will be played next Sunday at the Australian Open in January the next major event thereafter.