TENNIS Preview: Wozniacki starts WTA Finals title defense in Singapore

The BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore starts on Sunday and runs for a week, showcasing most of the top names in women’s tennis for a $7 million prize purse.

The singles entries do not include the injured Simona Halep (ROU), currently ranked first, but out with a back injury; the line-up:

2. Carolina Wozniacki (DEN) ~ 2018 Australian Open & China Open Champion
3. Angelique Kerber (GER) ~ 2018 Wimbledon Champion
4. Naomi Osaka (JPN) ~ 2018 U.S. Open Champion
5. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) ~ 2018 Stuttgart Open and Pan Pacific Open Champion
6. Elina Svitolina (UKR) ~ 2018 Italian Open Champion
7. Petra Kvitova (CZE) ~ 2018 Madrid Open Champion
8. Sloane Stephens (USA) ~ 2018 French Open runner-up
10. Kiki Bertens (NED) ~ 2018 Cincinnati Open Champion

Wozniacki won last year and Kerber (2016) and Kvitova (2015) have been recent runners-up.

The Singles event has the players drawn into groups and play a round-robin in each group. The top two in each will advance to the semis.

The Doubles field is also limited to eight, but will play a single-elimination format tournament. The qualifers in seed order:

1. Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
2. Timea Babos (HUN)/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
3. Andrea Sestini Hlavackova/Barbora Strykova (CZE)
4. Gabriela Drabowski (CAN)/Yifan Xu (CHN)
5. Elise Mertens (ROU)/Demi Schuurs (NED)
6. Nicole Melichar (USA)/Kveta Peschke (CZE)
7. Andreja Klepac (SLO)/Maria Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
8. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)/CoCo Vandeweghe (USA)

Babos and Hlavackova were the champions last season, and while both are back, they’re with different partners for 2018. Hlanackova was also a runner-up in 2012 (with Czech Lucie Hradrecka) and Martinez Sanchez was half of the winner pair in 2012, with fellow Spaniard Nuria Llagostera Vives.

This is the 48th edition of the WTA Finals, beginning back in 1972, and the last to be held in Singapore, at least for a while. In January, it was announced that the event will be played in Shenzhen (CHN) from 2019-28. Look for results of this year’s Finals here.