SINGAPORE — Spanish tennis player Garbine Muguruza has become the first woman singles player to book her spot at the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore to be held next month (Oct 22-29).
Muguruza, who became world No 1 on Monday, will be making her fourth consecutive appearance at the event, said the Women’s Tennis Association in a statement. Her best performance in the tournament was in 2015 when she reached the semi-finals, only to lose to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska.
The 23-year-old’s rise to the top of the women’s ladder rank ended the reign of Karolina Pliskova, who had spent eight weeks at the top. Following the recently concluded US Open, Pliskova fell to No 4, with Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams rounding up the top 5.
Women tennis players must compete throughout the year in WTA tournaments, as well as the four Grand Slam events, to earn ranking points to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Only the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams will qualify.
Apart from the top five in the world, the current WTA Finals leaderboard includes Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta and Jelena Ostapenko. US Open champion Sloane Stephens is ranked 12th, a climb of 54 spots after winning her first Grand Slam event.
Muguruza said she was pleased to qualify for the WTA Finals 40 days early. “Every season, one of my main goals is to qualify for Singapore, as it is proof that you are one of the best eight players of the year,” said the Spaniard in a media release.
“To secure my place so early gives me great satisfaction and motivates me to keep working hard as we enter the later stages of the season.”
This year, Muguruza has won two titles, including Wimbledon. Her Wimbledon victory was only her second Grand Slam title after winning the French Open title last year.
The other tournament she won was the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August, when she beat the then world No 1 and No 2 — Pliskova and Halep, respectively — en route to the title.
The Spaniard also reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane International, the Italian Open in Rome, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua have also qualified for the WTA Finals.
The Australian doubles pair will be making their debut, joining defending champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, and Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis as confirmed names.