WUHAN, China - Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova captured the Wuhan title on Saturday to secure their return for the second year in succession to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Despite starting the week in seventh place on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, Mattek-Sands and Safarova's seventh title together saw them become the fourth team to secure a spot at the season-ending showpiece.
"Singapore last year was awesome. It's the year-end championships, the best of the best. Only the best teams get to go, so I think it's an honor to make it there in the end," Mattek-Sands said. "I think everyone at this point is fighting for a spot because the rankings were pretty close."
It is testament to the American-Czech's partnership that they have managed to secure their place in Singapore from so few appearance; injuries and scheduling conflicts have restricted them to just seven tournaments together this year. However, when they have been on court, it has not taken long to rekindle the magic.
In their first event of the year, the Miami Open, they romped to the title without dropping a set, following this up with another final in Charleston. They lost out on the silverware there to fellow Singapore qualifiers Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic and suffered further disappointment at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, falling at the first hurdle on each occasion.
With their Finals hopes hanging by a thread, a big performance was required at Flushing Meadows. And they certainly delivered, gaining revenge on Garcia and Mladenovic to add the US Open crown to the majors titles won at the Australian and French Opens the previous year.
The current Road to Singapore leaderboard as follows (as of October 1, 2016):
Angelique Kerber (GER) - Q
Serena Williams (USA) - Q
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP)
Madison Keys (USA)
Johanna Konta (GBR)