First thoughts on the groups… it’s going to a tough one for Kerber if she’s going to get past the group stage of the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. I’m disappointed for Keys as she’ll likely have to notch a win over Kerber and/or Halep to qualify and that’s not looked even close to happening in 2016. Cibulkova could be the wildcard and I could see her doing well here. The white group isn’t worth discussing yet as the final place for Singapore is yet to be decided…
I have to be honest and say that i’m not feeling the buzz like previous years for the WTA Finals and it really doesn’t help that the line-up isn’t confirmed yet. I think having Moscow (involved in the race) the week before with the final on Saturday and Singapore starting on Sunday is absolutely ludicrous.
Svetlana Kuznetsova won her semi-final match in Moscow on Friday, fending off a second set challenge from Elina Svitolina to win, 6-1 6-7(2) 6-4. If Kuznetsova wins the final on Saturday she will qualify for Singapore and Johanna Konta, who was in Singapore today for some of the group photos, will miss out. I think it’s an absolute mess and even if Kuznetsova were to qualify, she’d have to go from two gruelling weeks in Tianjin and Moscow, straight to Singapore and play her first match on Monday evening which is ridiculous. Something HAS to be looked at with the scheduling of tournaments…
Kuznetsova will play Daria Gavrilova in the final. On a more positive note (i’m feeling ranty tonight!), this is Gavrilova’s first final of the year and she’s set to finish the year in the world’s top 25. It’s been a really rocky ride but for Gavrilova to back up her breakthrough year of 2015 and improve her ranking is an admirable achievement. Gavrilova beat Julia Goerges in the second of the Moscow semi-finals, 7-5 6-1.
It’s been a tough week off-the-court for Elina.
Over in Luxembourg, the final will be contested between Petra Kvitova and Monica Niculescu. This is a pretty dreamy final if you ask me! Niculescu defeated Kiki Bertens, 6-3 6-3 while Kvitova came from a break down in both sets and saved set points in the first set for a 7-5 6-3 win over Lauren Davis… it was MUCH tighter than the scoreline suggested.
Kvitova and Niculescu last played in Stuttgart where Kvitova saved match points to win, 2-6 7-6(5) 6-2. It set off Niculescu on a four match losing streak and was arguably her toughest loss of the year. I think i’d take Petra in that one but I do have a lot for respect for Monica.
Wrapping up proceedings from the WTA Finals on Friday, here’s the iconic photo. Such a shame there’s only seven players :-(.
And the results of the WTA Finals were also announced today! I didn’t realise this would be so soon and I had a post ready to release this weekend for each of the awards which has now gone out the window haha!
Naomi Osaka has been voted as the newcomer of the year… good decision in my opinion of the four nominees but I still believe this should have been Daria Kasatkina. I think she couldn’t be nominated because she was up for the award in 2015.
The most improved player went to Johanna Konta… there were a lot of worthy candidates for this award but it’s a good result. I’d also have thrown some support behind Laura Siegemund in this category.
Comeback of the year went to Dominika Cibulkova. I can totally understand it but my vote would have gone to Anastasija Sevastova.
The doubles team of the year went to Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. This was the toughest one and I feel like it’s a little unjust to have awarded this before the doubles tournament in Singapore, which I think would have a big impact on the result because there has been no stand-out team that has excelled throughout the entire year. I think Garcia and Mladenovic have probably been the most consistent pair but you know where my vote went…
And finally, the player of the year went to Angelique Kerber. Not even a contest…