Wednesday, October 30, 2019

WTA Finals getting more interesting

I doubt if anyone was surprised when 4th seed Bianca Andreescu retired today after the first set in her WTA Finals round robin match against Karolina Pliskova. The U.S. Open champion has a back injury that was evident when she lost to Simona Halep a few days ago; today, though, she had top stop playing because of a knee injury. But Andreescu isn't alone; yesterday, 3rd seed Naomi Osaka withdrew from the event and was replaced by first alternate Kiki Bertens. Bertens wasted no time, and knocked out top seed Ash Barty in straight sets.

Today, 8the seed and defending champion Elina Svitolina, playing in the purple group, defeated Simona Halep in straight sets, and became the first of the eight competitors to reach the semifinals.

Here is the current state of both the singles and doubles draws:


Red Group

Ashleigh Barty (1): 1-1
Naomi Osaka (3): 1-0, withdrawn from tournament
Belinda Bencic (7): 1-1
Petra Kvitova (6): 0-2
Kiki Bertens (1st alternate): 1-0

Purple Group

Elina Svitolina* (8): 2-0
Simona Halep (5): 1-1
Karolina Pliskova (2): 1-1
Bianca Andreescu (4): 0-2, withdrawn from tournament


Red Group

Groenefeld/Schuurs (8): 1-1
Mertens/Sabalenka (1): 1-1
Babos/Mladenovic** (3): 2-0
Chan/Chan (5): 0-2

Purple Group

Hsieh/Strycova (2): 2-0
Stosur/Zhang (7): 2-0
Krejcikova/Siniakova (6): 1-1
Dabrowski/Xu (4): 0-2

*defending champion
**defending champions

Sunday, October 27, 2019

World number 1 Barty off to a good start in Shenzhen

Ash Barty came from a set down today to defeat Belinda Bencic at the WTA Finals in Shenzen. Barty has now captured the year-end number 1 ranking, and is the first non-USA, non-European player in history to do so. The match marked the first time that Barty and Bencic had ever played each other.

Here is the singles draw:


Asheigh Barty (1)
Naomi Osaka (3)
Petra Kvitova (6)
Belinda Bencic (7)


Karolina Pliskova (2)
Bianca Andreescu (4)
Simona Halep (5)
Elina Svitolina (8)

In the other Red Group match, Naomi Osaka defeated Petra Kvitova, also in three sets. This was the first time the two had met since Osaka defeated Kvitova in the (for many of us, heartbreaking) 2019 Australian Open final.

Kvitova and Svitolina are the only players of the eight who have won the WTA Finals (2011 and 2018, respectively); Halep reached the final in 2014 but lost to Serena Williams. Both Kvitova and Halep reached the final in their debut WTA Finals appearances. Kvitova is one of only four women to win the event in her debut appearance.

Halep, incidentally, is the only one of the final eight who does not have a losing record against any of the other players.

In doubles, Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova defeated Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai, and Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-fan.

Here is the doubles draw:


Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka (1)
Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic (3)
Chan Hao-Ching/Latisha Chan (5)
Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Demi Schuurs (8)


Barbora Strycova/Hsieh Su-wei (2)
Gabriela Dabrowski/Xu Yi-fan (4)
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova (6)
Samantha Stosur/Zhang Shuai (7)

Babos and Mladenovic won the WTA Finals in 2018.