EIGHT IS ENOUGH: A Guide to the WTA Championships

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Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The WTA Championships are an old tradition in our sport, but there’s now a brand new way to see it. WTA TV is now the cutting-edge way to see the event, which showcases eight women from eight different countries. The varied group speaks to the fact that the tour is in flux and bursting with potential. Clearly, Singapore is tilting towards youth.

Simona Halep: Romania’s little engine that almost could? Halep finally reached the No. 1 ranking on the back of solid showings year-round. The French Open finalist, coached by Darren Cahill, is unfortunately riding on the back of big losses, with her lone title in Madrid. She’s still majorless, though impressively consistent. Power-hitters still have Halep matches on their racquets.

• W Madrid; F Rome, FO, Cincinnati, Beijing
• H2H Overall 12-13
• H2H 2017 4-5

Garbine Muguruza: A big tournament player, the tall Spaniard broke out this year. Was razor-sharp beating Venus for a first Wimbledon title to go with last year’s French win, then won Cincy. After her best showing at the US Open (round of 16), was No. 1. Like Halep, she’s an even head-to-head against the rest of the group, but is inconsistent and loses to both big hitters and retrievers.

• W Wimbledon, Cincinnati
• H2H Overall 16-18
• H2h 2017 7-7

Karolina Pliskova: The 2016 US Open finalist has been solid, but hasn’t won at the Slams. Like Muguruza, she has the game to beat anybody and had a month-long run at No. 1. Impassive Czech won three titles this year, and hasn’t lost a final. Her problem is getting into positions to do so. Movement is an issue and Singapore’s courts may prove hard for her to hit through.

• W Eastbourne, Doha, Brisbane
• H2H Overall 21-16
• H2H 2017 10-6

Elina Svitolina: The Ukrainian counterpuncher has won the most titles this year out of anyone in the finals, but has underperformed in Slams. Despite this, she’s one of three players with a positive head-to-head against the rest of the group in 2017. She gets the ball back, but can she take charge and win the title?

• W Toronto, Rome, Istanbul, Dubai
• H2H Overall 12-13
• H2H 2017 8-5

Caroline Wozniacki: There’s always a twist with marathon-running, Serena-loving Caro, who has a penchant for high-profile boyfriends and who’s unafraid to offer her critiques of Sharapova. Wozniacki, who pulled out of Hong Kong with an elbow injury, has six finalist finishes to one championship, with four of those losses against someone else on this list. A resilient veteran battler, she’s often outdone by power-hitters.

• W Tokyo; F Toronto, Bastad, Eastbourne, Miami, Dubai, Doha
• H2H Overall 13-21
• H2H 2017 4-8

Venus Williams: A beloved elderly outlier, Auntie Vee has reached two Slam finals and the US Open semis, but hasn’t done much outside of the Slams. Has the best overall record against the Singapore field, but the worst combined head-to-head this year, in which she’s played against her fellow finalists just four times. Venus schedules with care and is the only player to have won the Tour finals before, back in 2008.

• F AO, Wimbledon
• H2H Overall 17-6
• H2H 2017 1-3

Jelena Ostapenko: Fun-to-watch Ostapenko isn’t as inconsistent as her cannonball groundstrokes would have you believe. Followed up her French Open victory with a win in Seoul. Was also a finalist in Charleston prior to her paradigm-shifting Paris win, and has reached two semis. One of just three women with a positive H2H against the field, at 20, the fiery, competitive, delightfully expressive Latvian already has significant experience.

• W FO, Seoul; F Charleston
• H2H Overall 7-6
• H2H 2017 6-4

Caroline Garcia: The Frenchwoman who skipped Fed Cup to sharpen her tour performances enjoyed a good but unspectacular season until her eleventh-hour run to the Wuhan and Beijing titles. In 2011, Andy Murray declared she that some day she’d be No. 1. Now has an 11-match win streak.

• W Beijing, Wuhan
• H2H Overall 5-10
• H2H 2017 2-4

Contributors: David Renteria, John Huston

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