Johanna Konta leads best of the rest into WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai

Johanna Konta leads the best of the rest, those ranked nine to 20, into the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai

After what proved to be a fruitless trip to the WTA Finals in Singapore for Johanna Konta, her place unceremoniously taken when the resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova won the very last qualifying match of the season, the Briton leads the best of the rest, those ranked nine to 20, into the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

And that is no small matter. It was only during this Asian swing last year that Konta began her rise from around 100 in the rankings to her current No10. It has been a swift and impressive journey that earned her the WTA’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award this week.

The WTA Elite Trophy, which was launched last year in the glamorous coastal city of Zhuhai, marks the end not just of tennis’s burgeoning Asian swing but the last WTA main-tour event of the season.

And although last year’s debut champion, Venus Williams, has opted out this time around, Konta heads a starry line-up in keeping with the $2.2 million in prize money and the 700 ranking points for the winner.

The 12 women, who compete in round-robin groups to qualify for the semi-final stage, include two Major champions, Petra Kvitova and Sam Stosur, and represent a total of nine WTA titles during 2016.

The Hengqin International Tennis Centre is a brand new, purpose-built facility for the event, and another indication of how tennis has captured the imagination in Asia, helped not a little by Li Na’s Grand Slam victories and Kei Nishikori’s position among the top ranks of the men’s tour.

The essentials

Dates: 1-6 November, 2016
Tournament ambassador: Stefanie Graf
Opening ceremony: 3pm, Tuesday 1 November
Final: 4pm, Sunday 6 November
Venue: Zhuhai, located on the Pearl River delta, will become the only city in China to be connected to Hong Kong and Macao by bridge and land.
Web: www.wtaelitetrophy.com

Players
Next 11 ranked players after WTA Finals cut-off plus one Wild Card
NB Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have withdrawn

9 Johanna Konta:
Won Stanford; final Beijing; SF Eastbourne, Australian Open; QF Olympics, Montreal, Miami, Monterrey
10 Carla Suarez Navarro:
Won Doha; SF Linz, Birmingham, Brisbane; QF Cincinnati, Stuttgart, Australian Open
11 Petra Kvitova:
Won Wuhan; final Luxembourg; SF New Haven, Olympics, Stuttgart; QF Beijing, Indian Wells
12 Elina Svitolina:
Won Kuala Lumpur; Final New Haven; SF Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Dubai; QF Olympics
13 Roberta Vinci:
Won St Petersburg; QF US Open, New Haven, Stuttgart, Doha, Brisbane
14 Timea Bacsinszky:
Won Rabat; SF Gstaad, Miami; QF Roland Garros, Rome
15 Elena Vesnina:
Final Charleston; SF Wimbledon; QF New Haven, Eastbourne, Strasbourg, Doha
16 Sam Stosur:
Final Prague; SF Roland Garros, Madrid; QF Washington, Strasbourg, Sydney
17 Barbora Strycova:
Final Birmingham, Dubai; QF Wuhan, Rome, Prague
18 Kiki Bertens:
Won Nurnberg; Final Gstaad; SF Luxembourg, Roland Garros, Rabat
19 Caroline Garcia:
Won Mallorca, Strasbourg; SF Monterrey, Dubai
Wild Card Shuai Zhang:
SF Seoul, Tokyo; QF Beijing, Australian Open

Doubles
Zheng Saisai and Xu Yifan
Arantxa Parra Santoja and Andrea Klepac
Olga Savchuk and Anastasia Rodionova
Tatjana Maria and Oksana Kalashnikova,
Wildcards: Wang Yafan and Liang Chen
You Xiaodi and Yang Zhaoxuan

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