Radwanska and Pliskova confirm places at WTA Finals in Singapore

Agnieszka Radwanska confirms her place at the end-of-season WTA Finals along with Singapore debutante Karolina Pliskova

Defending champion of the Billie Jean King trophy in Singapore, Agnieszka Radwanska, has confirmed her place at the end-of-season WTA Finals for the eighth time, along with Singapore debutante, Karolina Pliskova.

Radwanska reached the third round in the lucrative Beijing Premier Mandatory this week to set a 15th meeting with the resurgent Caroline Wozniacki in what will be their third match in as many weeks. Radwanska won last week in Wuhan but Wozniacki beat the Pole on her way to the Tokyo title.

So far this year, Radwanska has won titles in Shenzhen and New Haven, backed by good runs at the Australian Open, Doha, Indian Wells, Stuttgart and Tokyo. She also has a fine record in Asia, and in Beijing in particular: Not just champion in 2011 but runner-up in 2009 and twice a semi-finalist.

The Pole said of qualification: “It’s the goal of everyone to qualify for the WTA Finals, and I’m happy to be returning to defend my title. I’ve played at Singapore for a few years now, and qualifying again this year means I’ve had a great season to be in the top eight. It won’t be easy to defend my title, but that’s the goal. It will be exciting and a challenge to see different names and faces in this year’s field.”

Pliskova is one of those new names, and may yet qualify for the doubles finale as well.

The 24-year-old Czech’s summer run took her to the title in Cincinnati and the final of the US Open, though she fell short in both Tokyo and Wuhan, losing in the latter to an on-fire Dominika Cibulkova. However, the petite Slovak, who is looking for her own first place in Singapore and stands at No7 in the Race, lost in the second round of Beijing to Alize Cornet, and that guaranteed Pliskova’s place.

Last year, Pliskova just missed out on qualifying, so was delighted to cross the line with time to spare in 2016: “I’m very excited that I have qualified for the WTA Finals. It’s been an amazing year so far and the best is coming [in Singapore]. I hope to see many fans and that many more follow my matches from around the world. Wish me luck—I am excited to be there for the first time in my life.”

Rain washed out much of the schedule in Beijing on Tuesday, leaving Pliskova to target the third round come Wednesday. Also aiming for the third round is No11 in the race, Briton Johanna Konta, and the two women could meet in the quarter-finals.

Two more contenders, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova, will contest a quarter-final place, as will Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys. Muguruza will qualify with a final run, while Keys and Kuznetsova will qualify if they win the title.

Current Race rankings: 1-8 Singapore, 9-20 Zhuhai

Qualified
1 Angelique Kerber
2 Serena Williams
3 Simona Halep
4 Agnieszka Radwanska
5 Karolina Pliskova
The chasing pack
6 Garbine Muguruza
7 Dominika Cibulkova [lost R2 Beijing]
8 Madison Keys

9 Carla Suarez Navarro [lost R1 Beijing]
10 Svetlana Kuznetsova
11 Johanna Konta
12 Petra Kvitova
13 Venus Williams [lost R1 Beijing]
14 Roberta Vinci [lost R2 Beijing]
15 Timea Bacsinszky
16 Elena Vesnina [lost R1 Beijing]
17 Sam Stosur [lost R1 Beijing]
18 Barbora Strycova
19 Caroline Wozniacki
20 Elina Svitolina

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