BNP Paribas WTA Finals Preview

Tennis Player Holds Racquet

We preview the BNP Paribas WTA Finals taking place from Sunday 22 October - Sunday 29 October in Singapore. 

The showpiece, year-ending WTA Event in Singapore is certainly a reflection of a year without the presence of Serena Williams. Seven of the eight players have the chance to end the year as World Number one, while all four Grand Slams were won by different women, indicating the schizophrenic nature of a season where consistency has been hard to locate amongst the tennis elite. Practically every single player on show has had a rollercoaster year, making the task of picking a potential winner all the more unenviable.

BNP Paribas WTA Finals | Sunday 22 October - Sunday 29 October | Singapore

The Red Group
Garbine Murguruza 
Karolina Plisikova
Jelena Ostapenko
Venus Williams

At the time of writing, Garbine Murguruza and Karolina Plisikova picked up expected victories over Jelena Ostapenko and Venus Williams respectively. Murguruza has lost some momentum after securing her second Grand Slam at Wimbledon. She actually only has a positive head-to-head record against Ostapenko- who she has beaten soundly in the first round. Ostapenko’s incongruous victory in the French Open has been something that she has really battled to emulate in remainder of the year. Karolina Plisikova has been one of the form players of the year, winning three titles. So it probably shouldn’t have come has too much of a surprise that she overcame Venus Williams in the first match.

Venus has had an interesting year. Of all the eight players, she is the only one who has actually failed to capture a title this year. Having said that, she has reached two Grand Slam finals and she has won this very event in 2008. But her unique physical issues make this very grueling format extremely tough for her to overcome. Murguruza was ruthless in her appearance here in 2015, winning all three group matches before losing out in the semi’s. While I think that she will progress, her abysmal 2-6 head-to-head record against fellow victor Karolina Plisikova makes it hard to really see her dominating proceedings. Plisikova has an excellent 9-3 head-to-head record against her group in total, and I think she must be favourite to progress.

Likely to Progress: Karolina Plisikova and Garbine Murguruza

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The White Group
Simona Halep
Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Garcia
Elina Svitolina

It’s rather surreal that Simona Halep comes into this as world number one, especially considering the fact that only Venus Williams has won fewer matches then her of the eight. This is clearly another manifestation of the somewhat bizarre texture of a tour sans Serena. Halep has just shown, time and time again, that she lacks the capacity to pull through when it really matters. I think that she will struggle to progress through the group. I have far more confidence in Dane Caroline Wozniacki. She enjoyed a fairly frustrating year, losing in six straight finals before finally breaking the duck in Tokyo. She recently withdrew from Hong Kong and should be fresh, although she comes in off the back of 76 matches all season- more than any other player in the field.

The great surprise of proceedings has got to be French sensation Carolina Garcia. She is currently on an 11 match winning streak, winning two consecutive titles in an Asian swing that has propelled her towards prominence and contention this week. She clearly has momentum and a propensity for playing in these humid conditions. She will also benefit from the fact that the indoor courts in Singapore are unlikely to be supremely quick. Elina Svitolina’s year record of five titles and 52 victories makes for impressive reading, but four of those five titles came in the first half of the year.

Likely to Progress: Caroline Wozniacki and Carolina Garcia
My Favourite to win- Caroline Wozniacki- The former World Number 1 has experience in these huge events and won’t be phased by the pressure-cooker atmosphere on show. I think that Serena’s absence is a huge boon for the woman who has only ever tasted defeat at the American’s hand. 

Written by Damien Kayat for

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