BEIJING, China - With an eventful Day 5 in the books at the China Open, Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko became the seventh player to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, meaning three players remain in contention for the eighth and final qualifying position. Britain's Johanna Konta currently sits at No.8 on the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard, but Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia and BNP Paribas Open champion Elena Vesnina still have a chance to chase her down and qualify.
While neither Garcia or Vesnina can qualify this week, here's what they need to do to stay in contention after Beijing:
- Garcia needs to reach the semifinals. Garcia plays her compatriot Alizé Cornet for a spot in the quarterfinals on Thursday, where she could face Vesnina.
- Vesnina would need to win the China Open title. The Russian plays No.3 Svitolina on Thursday for a spot in the quarterfinals.
- If neither happens, Konta will be confirmed as the eighth and final qualifier this week.
THE ROAD TO QUALIFICATION FOR GARCIA AND VESNINA:
Garcia needs to win the Beijing title in order to overtake Konta on the PRTS heading into the penultimate week of the regular season. If Garcia wins Beijing, Konta would need to reach the Kremlin Cup final to qualify.
If Garcia loses in the Beijing final, she could still move ahead of Konta by winning the title at the Tianjin Open.
If Garcia loses in the semifinals this week, she would need to win Tianjin and Moscow to overtake Konta. As she is not currently entered in Moscow, Garcia would need a wildcard to play there.
"I don't really want to think about it because even if I do great it's not in my control," Garcia told WTA Insider. "It doesn't depend only on me. I know it's on the side of my head but I know how I went in Wuhan, which mindset I had, and I want to keep the same because this way I'm playing great."
The road to singles qualification for Vesnina, who has already qualified in doubles with Ekaterina Makarova, is far more arduous. In short, she would need to win out the rest of the season, taking the title in Beijing, Hong Kong (where she is scheduled to receive a wildcard), as well as Moscow. Even then, Vesnina would need Konta to lose before the quarterfinals in Moscow.
With her win over Elise Mertens in the second round of Beijing on Wednesday, Garcia moved into ninth position and first alternate spot on the PRTS. Kristina Mladenovic currently sits as the second alternate.
DOUBLES QUALIFICATION UPDATE:
Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova became the fifth team to clinch their spot in the WTA Finals. Their victory over Sloane Stephens and Heather Watson, combined with defeat for Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, was enough to put the Hungarian-Czech duo over the line in the Porsche Race to Singapore.
There are five teams vying for the final three spots at the WTA Finals:
- Anna-Lena Groenefeld / Kveta Peschke
- Gabriela Dabrowski / Xu Yifan
- Andreja Klepac / Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
- Sania Mirza / Peng Shuai
- Shuko Aoyama / Yang Zhaoxuan
QUALIFICATION SCENARIOS FOR THIS WEEK
Groenefeld/Peschke and Dabrowski/Xu will qualify unless Mirza/Peng reach the Beijing final. Regardless of the results this week in Beijing, the Doubles Race will continue into the tour's events next week in Linz, Hong Kong and Tianjin.