SOFIA, Bulgaria - The final few members of the elite eight for the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions have been announced, with one of the fastest-rising WTA Rising Stars wrapping it up.
Garbiñe Muguruza, who has had an absolute breakthrough year highlighted by her first WTA title in Hobart and first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros - a run that included her first win over a World No.1 with her win over Serena Williams - is the last player named to the eight-woman field.
The Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions is the season-ending championships for the WTA's International series of events and invites the six highest-ranked International-level title winners, as well as two wildcards, to the Bulgarian capital to fight it out for a share of $750,000 prize money purse.
The other five International-level title winners in the field will be Ekaterina Makarova (who won her International title at Pattaya City), Dominika Cibulkova (who won Acapulco), Andrea Petkovic (who won Bad Gastein), Carla Suárez Navarro (who won Oeiras) and Alizé Cornet (who won Katowice).
Muguruza is a late replacement for Samantha Stosur, who recently won Osaka for the third time.
"Unfortunately, due to injury, I'm forced to withdraw this year," the Australian said.
"I'm so disappointed to not be able to come back to Sofia as I really had a great time there last year."
Cornet is playing Sofia for the third time - she was an alternate in 2012 and main draw in 2013.
"It means a lot to me to play in Sofia again. It's my third year in a row at this tournament," the French No.1 said. "It will be a very good end of the season. Last year was amazing and this year is going to be the same. The round robin format is good for the fans; I think it will be a really good week."
Pironkova, Bulgaria's No.1 player, has been picking up her form at just the right time - she's won back-to-back matches at both of her last two tournaments, reaching quarterfinals at Linz and Moscow.
It's the first time she has reached back-to-back quarterfinals since Wimbledon and Palermo in 2011.
"I'm very happy with the way I've been playing. I hope I can keep it up in Sofia," Pironkova said.
"Unfortunately last year I didn't have a very good tournament there, even though everything was perfect - the organization, the people, the crowd and everything else. I wasn't feeling my game very well, so I didn't have the result I wanted. But I'm hoping this year will be a lot better."
Another two WTA Rising Stars, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, were announced as the two alternates on Thursday. Pliskova will be the only player in the field with two International-level titles this year, winning in Seoul and Linz; Svitolina captured her International-level title at Baku.