With two weeks left in the WTA Tour's regular season, three qualifying spots remain open for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. World No.1 Simona Halep, Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, US Open and Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka, Madrid champion Petra Kvitova, and Australian Open and Beijing champion Caroline Wozniacki have all booked their Singapore spots, with Osaka, Kvitova, and Wozniacki doing so last week at the China Open.
The final three qualifiers will come from a pool of the five women left in contention: Miami champion Sloane Stephens, Rome champion Elina Svitolina, Tokyo and Stuttgart champion Karolina Pliskova, Cincinnati champion Kiki Bertens, and Wuhan champion Aryna Sabalenka.
Here is the point spread on the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard as of Monday, October 8th:
6. Sloane Stephens: 3,943 points (not entered this week or in Moscow)
7. Elina Svitolina: 3,850 points (Hong Kong, not entered in Moscow)
8. Karolina Pliskova: 3,720 points (Tianjin, Moscow)
9. Kiki Bertens: 3,710 points (Linz, Moscow)
10. Aryna Sabalenka: 3,145 points (Tianjin, Moscow)
This penultimate week could have a profound effect on the Race Leaderboard going into Moscow. Currently in the 6th qualifying position, Stephens' lead on Svitolina is less than 100 points, while Svitolina is looking to hold off Pliskova and Bertens, who are 130 and 140 points behind her.
In order to add points to their Porsche Race to Singapore totals, Svitolina must make the semifinals or better in Hong Kong, Pliskova must make the semifinals or better in Tianjin, and Bertens must make the quarterfinals or better in Linz. A loss before those rounds would leave that respective player's point total unchanged heading into the final week.
Only one of either Stephens or Svitolina have a chance to qualify this week, meaning at least two of the final qualifying spots will not be decided until the last week of the season in Moscow.
Svitolina can qualify this week if she wins the title in Hong Kong and the following two results happen:
- Pliskova does not reach the final in Tianjin
- Bertens does not reach the semifinal in Linz
Stephens can qualify this week if the following four things happen:
- Pliskova does not win the title in Tianjin
- Bertens does not reach the final in Linz
- Svitolina does not reach the semifinal in Hong Kong
- Svitolina accepts a main draw wildcard into Moscow
Sabalenka could be knocked out of contention this week with a loss in Tianjin or if either of these happens:
- Bertens reaches the quarterfinals in Linz
- Pliskova reaches the semifinals in Tianjin
20-year-old Sabalenka still has an outside chance of qualifying for her first WTA Finals, but her quarterfinal loss to Wang Qiang in Beijing made that road much steeper.
The big battle remains between Pliskova and Bertens for what could be the final qualifying position. Currently at No.8, Pliskova has just a 10 point lead on Bertens, who is looking to become the first Dutchwoman to qualify for the WTA Finals since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy. An early loss from Pliskova in Tianjin combined with a quarterfinal run from Bertens in Linz would see Bertens surge ahead. Both are scheduled to play Moscow.
The WTA is now accepting applications for Media Accreditation for the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Applications can be submitted via wtafinals2018.
This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.