Over 2,000 points are up for grabs during final five weeks of the season, which takes place predominantly in Asia, meaning the Porsche Race to Singapore is set for another exciting race to the finish line to see which eight singles players and eight doubles teams will qualify to compete at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
World No.1 Simona Halep and Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber have already qualified and secured their Singapore spots. Halep will be the only woman to qualify and compete in every edition of Singapore's five-year run as the host city of the WTA Finals. A finalist in 2016, Kerber will be making her return to WTA Finals after missing the cut last fall.
This leaves six remaining spots up for grabs over the last five weeks of the WTA's regular season.
The last two seasons have seen The Race go down to the final days of the season. In 2016, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dominika Cibulkova each won titles in Moscow and Linz, respectively, to clinch their spots. Both advanced to the semifinals and Cibulkova emerged as the surprise champion. Last year it was Caroline Garcia, who came into the Asian Swing at No.16 on the Race to Singapore Leaderboard, and then went on a historic sweep of Wuhan and Beijing to earn her Singapore debut, where she advanced to the semifinals.
What final twists and turns could be on offer this year?
Here is the current point-spread of the Top 12 on the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard as of Monday, September 10th:
1. Simona Halep: 6,910
2. Angelique Kerber: 5,152
3. Petra Kvitova: 4,250
4. Naomi Osaka: 4,047
5. Caroline Wozniacki: 3,982
6. Elina Svitolina: 3,840
7. Sloane Stephens: 3,823
8. Kiki Bertens: 3,253
9. Karolina Pliskova: 3,132
10. Elise Mertens: 3,080
11. Serena Williams: 2,976
12. Daria Kasatkina: 2,816
With Halep and Kerber already qualified, the next group of players in the No.3-7 positions – Petra Kvitova, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina and Sloane Stephens – are separated by less than 375 points. Of those players, only Osaka, Wozniacki, and Stephens are in action this week at the Premier event in Tokyo. Stephens bowed out in the first round. As of this writing, Osaka is into the quarterfinals and Wozniacki has yet to play.
Svitolina and Stephens hold a near-600 point lead on the No.8 spot currently occupied by Cincinnati champion Kiki Bertens. Bertens is playing this week in the International-level event in Seoul, where a title-run, which would net her 280 points, would help her close the gap before Wuhan.
The year-end drama will likely fall around that No.8 spot. While Bertens is over 500 points behind the No.7 and No.6 spots, she holds less than a 200 point lead over the No.10 spot, currently held by Elise Mertens. Karolina Pliskova, a semifinalist in Singapore last year, is also in the hunt at No.9. Pliskova is playing Tokyo this week and a deep run could see her overtake Bertens for the No.8 spot.
All this math sets up what should be a nail-biting two weeks in China, where the Singapore favorites could secure their spots or an outside run could cause disarray. Because as the last few seasons have proven, until you cross the finish line, no lead is safe on the Porsche Race to Singapore.
Qualification for the WTA Finals is based on a number of variables and only becomes official when the respective player has reached a point total that will assure a Top 8 finish. It is only at that point that the WTA will officially acknowledge a player’s qualification to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Our projections team closely monitors the daily results to ensure accuracy and precision of the process.