After winning her first-round match at the China Open in Beijing on Monday, the US Open champion was officially confirmed as the third to go to Singapore, joining French Open champion Simona Halep and Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber. It will be the 20-year-old’s debut appearance at the season finale.
Her season was highlighted by her maiden Major title in Flushing Meadows, where she beat Serena Williams in the championship match.
Earlier this season, she won her very first WTA title at the hugely prestigious Indian Wells Premier Mandatory, beating a star-studded line-up of opponents in Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova and world No1 Halep. After New York, she went on to reach the final on the home soil in Tokyo.
In 2015, Osaka competed and won the WTA Rising Stars Invitational as part of the WTA Finals, introducing fans to the next generation of women’s tennis stars at the WTA’s biggest event of the year. She referred to that launch-pad after qualifying this week:
“Qualifying for the WTA Finals is a huge accomplishment. Winning the WTA Rising Stars Invitational in 2015 helped give me the confidence to play on the big stages, so I am excited to go back to Singapore and compete with the top players of the season.”
Osaka becomes the third player from Japan ever to qualify for the year-end event, and the first in 15 years. Ai Sugiyama qualified in 2003, while Kimiko Date qualified for three editions of the season-ending event, and reached the semi-finals on her debut in 1994.
The WTA Finals are held at the Singapore Sports Hub from between 21 and 28 October, where the best eight singles and doubles teams battle for $7 million in prize money.
The singles players compete in a round-robin format, with the top two from each group advancing to knock-out semis and final, in pursuit of the Billie Jean King Trophy. The doubles teams compete in a knock-out format for the Martina Navratilova Trophy.
The winner of the Porsche Race to Singapore—the player who sits at No1 leading into the WTA Finals—will not only seal a spot at the season-ending tournament, but will also receive a new Porsche 718 Boxster GTS.
NB five qualifying events remain after Beijing across two weeks—so a maximum of two are available to each woman
1 Simona Halep Q
2 Angelique Kerber Q
3 Naomi Osaka Q
Chance to qualify in Beijing
Petra Kvitova (lost R1 Beijing)
Caroline Wozniacki (R3 Beijing)
Sloane Stephens (lost R3 Beijing)
Kiki Bertens (R3 Beijing, Linz, Moscow)
Karolina Pliskova (R3 Beijing, Moscow)
Others in contention before Singapore
Elina Svitolina (lost R1 Beijing, Hong Kong)
Aryna Sabalenka (R3 Beijing, Tianjin, Moscow)
Julia Goerges (R3 Beijing, Linz, Luxembourg)
Anastasia Sevastova (QF Beijing, Moscow)
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