HONG KONG, SAR - On Thursday the race for the final qualifying spots at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global took another twist when Johanna Konta withdrew from the Hong Kong Tennis Open.
Konta currently occupies the final qualifying berth for Singapore, just 10 points ahead of Dominika Cibulkova. However, after pulling out of Hong Kong with an abdominal injury Konta may now be left relying on other results to go her way if she is to reach Singapore.
"Obviously it's never the ideal way to finish a tournament, and definitely never the intention when you come to play," Konta said. "I really enjoy playing here in Hong Kong and I was really looking forward to making this week last as long as possible. Unfortunately it wasn't as long as I would have liked but I need to look after my body first - I've only got one - so I really have to make sure I make the right decisions for my health.
"I'm looking forward to hopefully coming back next year and making it a full week here."
Three places at the season-ending showpiece remain up for grabs. Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys and Konta are in sixth, seventh and eighth place, respectively, while Cibulkova, Carla Suárez Navarro and Svetlana Kuznetsova remain hot on their heels.
All six contenders entered tournaments this week, and with Cibulkova and Carla Suárez Navarro also scheduled to play next week's Kremlin Cup, in Moscow, for the second year in a row the battle is likely to go down to the wire...
? Cibulkova would need to reach the final in Linz this week to pass Konta
? A semifinal for Cibulkova in Linz would put Konta and Cibulkova in a tie*
? Cibulkova's 16th best result is currently 100 points, so she would need to reach the semifinals at Moscow to add any points to her total
? Suárez Navarro can also pass Konta, but will need to add points in both Linz (where she is through to the quarterfinals) and Moscow
? If Cibulkova loses in Linz and Muguruza can qualify for the WTA Finals by beating Monica Niculescu on Thursday
* When two or more players have the same number of ranking points, the first tie-break is the player with the most combined points from Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory, Premier 5 and WTA Finals (as outlined on pg.215 of the Rule Book). In this regard, Konta (2685) has the edge over Cibulkova (2180)