SINGAPORE – The 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global was staged for the fourth time as a culmination of the Porsche Race to Singapore and featured five players who have held the WTA World No.1 singles ranking alongside several debutantes. New champions were crowned in both singles and doubles, and the Year End World No.1 singles and doubles players also took these positions for the first time.
A new record was set on the ground at the WTA Finals as the event welcomed 133,000 fans, the largest attendance over the four years in Singapore. This attendance figure was an increase of 36% in the number of fans who came to watch the matches over the eight days of competition.
With the new Year End World No.1 pairing of Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan, the 2017 WTA Finals saw the emergence of doubles as a major engagement driver. Launching the new WTA Live Matches Facebook page, all seven doubles matches were streamed for the first time, capturing 6.8 million video views, with over 1.4 million video views per match for the semi-final and final matches.
With a strategic behind-the-scenes narrative this year, fans were engaged through over 6.5 million Instagram video views. Overall, the WTA social initiatives increased fan engagement globally, with total social video views growing from 22.9 million in 2016 to 27.8 million this year.
Off the court, the WTA Finals Gala Evening hosted by Marina Bays Sands, which incorporated the Singles Draw Ceremony, was a platform to showcase a collaboration of Singapore’s most creative talent in fashion, music and theatre. To add to the lifestyle offerings around the tennis, the Backstreet Boys made their only stop in Asia at the National Stadium for a sold-out concert, held in conjunction with the WTA Finals.
Winner of the 2017 Porsche Race to Singapore and WTA Year End World No.1 Simona Halep returned for the fourth consecutive time, the only player to have made it to the singles field for every edition in Singapore so far. Joining her were two other players who achieved the WTA World No.1 ranking this year, Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza and Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova. The trio of Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Garcia made their debut amongst the elite, each boasting a stellar 2017 season with career best results. The final came down to two former WTA World No.1 players, as Caroline Wozniacki won the biggest title of her career by defeating Venus Williams for the first time in their eighth meeting.
Martina Hingis announced her retirement from professional tennis in Singapore, doing so in grand fashion by clinching the Year End World No.1 in doubles with partner Chan Yung-Jan. The top seeded team of Chan/Hingis were stopped by eventual champions Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Timea Babos, who defeated Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson in the final.
In addition, the sport sought new ways to grow the game in the next generation with the expansion of the WTA Future Stars initiative. A record number of participation this year saw 48 young players from 21 countries.
Introduced in 2014, the top under-14 and under-16 players in the region gathered in Singapore to compete against each other and meet with the best in women’s tennis during their time at the event.
The Li Na Inspiration Award recognized two players for their outstanding conduct both on and off the court, Kazakhstan’s Yelizaveta Karlova in the under-14 division, and New Zealand’s Elys Ventura from the under-16 draw.
Several new programs were introduced this year to continue to promote active living through tennis by engaging with local communities.
Judy Murray, renowned tennis coach, mother of Jamie and Andy Murray and Community Ambassador of the 2017 WTA Finals, led the inaugural WTA Charities Community Day in Singapore.
“It has been yet another outstanding crown jewel event of the WTA calendar and heartiest congratulations to Caroline Wozniacki, Timea Babos and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova for capping their season on such a high," said Melissa Pine, Vice President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals.
“We would also like to thank our partners Singapore Tourism Board, Sport Singapore and Lagardere Sports, the WTA Finals Legend Ambassadors, as well as all the sponsors who have been so supportive with the various community engagement activities, from the WTA Future Stars to our inaugural WTA Charities Community Day in Singapore. These efforts, together with the tournament, will continue to contribute to the growth of tennis in Asia and build the legacy of women's tennis in this part of the world.”
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This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.