HONG KONG/TIANJIN/LINZ - The Road to Singapore kicks into high gear as three spots remain in the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Who will join Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep, and Karolina Pliskova among the tour's Elite Eight? Six of the seven women still in Singapore contention battle it out at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, the Tianjin Open, and the Generali Ladies Linz...
1) The Road to Singapore leaderboard heats up.
Johanna Konta flipped the script on the RTS leaderboard by reaching the biggest final of her career at the China Open. The result brought the Brit up to No.8 - bumping Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova down to No.9. Konta is the No.3 seed in Hong Kong, while Cibulkova took a wildcard in Linz; the two begin their weeks against Naomi Broady and Belinda Bencic, respectively.
2) Kuznetsova shoots for Singapore from Tianjin.
The Russian reached the semifinals of Wuhan - saving a match point to defeat China Open champ Agnieszka Radwanska en route - but will likely need to win the tournament this week and play either Moscow or Luxembourg to remain in contention. Radwanska clinched her return to the WTA Finals last week, and is top seed in Tianjin.
3) Muguruza next in line.
French Open champion Garbiñe Muguruza looked like a lock to secure her place in Singapore earlier in the Asian swing, but tough losses over the last few weeks bring her qualification hopes down to the wire. Top seed in Linz, Muguruza opens against Cagla Buyukakcay, and could play No.3 seed Madison Keys in the semifinals.
4) Keys also aims for WTA Finals debut.
Speaking of Keys, the American has a tough opener against former Linz finalist Camila Giorgi, but has enjoyed a solid swing through Wuhan and Beijing - reaching the semifinals of the latter - and should feel comfortable on Austria's indoor courts.
5) Call on Carla...
Carla Suárez Navarro narrowly missed out on qualifying for Singapore last year, and heads into the final stretch of the season ranked No.10 on the RTS leaderboard; the Spaniard is seeded No.4 in Linz and opens against Mona Barthel.
6) Pavlyuchenkova out to defend Linz trophy.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ended her year on a high, winning nine straight matches to win in Linz and reach the final of the Kremlin Cup. The Wimbledon quarterfinalist recently parted with coach Dieter Kindlmann, and opens against US Open quarterfinalist Anastasija Sevastova as the No.5 seed.
7) Vesnina gets Rogers rematch.
Elena Vesnina came into the French Open having reached the Volvo Car Open final as a qualifier, but fell in the second round to eventual quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers. Seeded No.3 in Tianjin, Vesnina plays Rogers to start the week, and is in Radwanska's half of the draw.
8) Jankovic on tough title defense.
Jelena Jankovic stunned Singapore hopefuls Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber to win the title in Hong Kong last year, and may well have to replicate the feat this year as the No.7 seed. The former No.1 is projected to play Venus in the quarterfinals and Kerber in the final.
9) Kerber edges closer to clinching Year-End No.1.
Finalist last year in Hong Kong, World No.1 Angelique Kerber is top seed after bowing out in the third round of Beijing to Elina Svitolina, and opens against Maria Sakkari.