ZHUHAI, China - Two-time major champion Garbiñe Muguruza, 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys and defending champion Julia Goerges are the first three players to book spots at the season-ending WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in two weeks' time, the WTA announced on Thursday.
The trio will be joined by Chinese No.1 Wang Qiang, with the two-time WTA title-winner announced as the wildcard into the field.
Muguruza reached the semifinals the last time she appeared at the season-ending event, when it was held in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014.
The Spaniard was a winner in Monterrey this year, also reaching the final in Doha and the semifinals of the French Open, where she lost to eventual champion Simona Halep.
"I'm very excited to go to Zhuhai this year," Muguruza said. "It's the first time for me and I've heard a lot of good things about the tournament, and I'm going to enjoy being a part of it."
In 2017, Goerges blitzed through the field in her Zhuhai debut, not dropping a set before topping CoCo Vandeweghe in the final.
This year, the German won the ASB Classic in Auckland to begin the season, reached the final of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, and advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. She had a 15-match winning streak stopped in the second round of the Australian Open, having ended 2017 as the champion at both the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and in Zhuhai, before winning Auckland.
The 29-year-old made her Top 10 debut in February, becoming the 125th player in WTA history to reach that ranking bracket.
"I'm excited that I have another opportunity to go to Zhuhai, because it means you've played a consistent year. I have great memories from last year," Goerges said.
"I think overall, it's very exciting coming back there, especially having won such a big title. Having an opportunity to defend it, I think it can't be better."
“ I am very excited to go to Zhuhai this year. It's going to be the first time for me.”
Two time major champions, former world No.1 🇪🇸@GarbiMuguruza will particpate in 2018 @WTAEliteTrophy @WTA #GarbineMuguruza pic.twitter.com/dNTXNQR4gS
— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) October 18, 2018
Keys will make her second career appearance in Zhuhai, having split two matches in the group stage in 2015. The American was a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist in 2018, reaching the last four at the French and US Opens.
"I'm so excited that I get to come back to Zhuhai this year," Keys said. "This will be my second time there, and I cannot wait to see all of my fans there."
Rounding out the quartet is Wang, whose sizzling autumn season on home soil helped her secure the tournament's wildcard. The Chinese No.1's efforts in Guangzhou, Wuhan and Beijing saw her win her second title of the season and reach two of her biggest semifinals, while also reaching the last four in Hiroshima and the final in Hong Kong.