RTS Update: Li & Cibulkova Still On Top
Published April 21, 2014 12:15
With 20 WTA-level tournaments in the books - 17 on hardcourts, three on clay - we're now at a critical juncture in the Road To Singapore, where the next seven weeks are completely on clay, including Premier events in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome, and then the big one - the French Open.
Funnily enough, even though it seems like such a long time ago, the top three spots on the Road To Singapore leaderboard are the exact same as they were coming out of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year - Li Na in first place, Dominika Cibulkova in second and Agnieszka Radwanska in third.
From the very beginning of the year, at her first tournament in Shenzhen, Li has said making the BNP Paribas WTA Championships Singapore presented by SC Global is one of her biggest goals this year.
"I will try my best to qualify for the WTA Championships in Singapore, because it's the first time the WTA Championships are in Asia and it's less travelling for me!" Li said. "I want to thank everyone in Singapore for all their support and I will work very hard to qualify for the WTA Championships."
Cibulkova, who was a runner-up to Li at the Australian Open, has been right behind her ever since. After conquering Acapulco, right before Indian Wells, the Slovak expressed her excitement for 2014.
"It's just an amazing time for me," Cibulkova said after winning in the Mexican paradise. "I had my first Grand Slam final in Australia and now I'm winning the title at such a nice tournament here. I've had some really tough matches and showed I'm a much better and more experienced player now.
"I'm 24 years old and I've been playing since I was eight years old. These moments are what you work for and what you dream of all your life - and tennis is my life now, and I just feel so happy."
Cibulkova is just coming off her third final of the year in Kuala Lumpur (she fell to Donna Vekic).
And though Radwanska hasn't won a title yet this year she has made the semifinals or better four times and is right behind Cibulkova in match wins (Cibulkova leads with 24 and Radwanska has 23).
Can the Li-Cibulkova-Radwanska top three trio hold strong through the upcoming clay court season?
The Road To Singapore is the year-long journey to the WTA Championships, with the top eight finishers all heading to the season-ender in October. Rounding out the top eight at the moment are Serena Williams in fourth, Simona Halep in fifth, Flavia Pennetta in sixth, Angelique Kerber in seventh and Jelena Jankovic in eighth. Ana Ivanovic and Eugenie Bouchard are just outside in ninth and 10th.
Eight doubles teams will also head to Singapore. The top eight teams on the leaderboard are Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova, Cara Black and Sania Mirza and Klara Koukalova and Monica Niculescu.