ZHUHAI, China - Top seeds Petra Kvitova and Johanna Konta are making their debuts at the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai as group-stage action continues at the season-ending event. We preview all the singles action right here.
After being stunned 6-1, 6-1 by Zhang Shuai in her first match at Zhuhai, Timea Bacsinszky is looking to get back on track against an unexpected opponent, singles alternate Timea Babos. Babos is set to make her debut appearance in Zhuhai after No.2 seed Carla Suárez Navarro was forced to withdraw from the tournament and Bacsinszky will have to put their friendship aside - as well as their bond over a shared first name - in order to stay perfect against an opponent she's never lost against.
"With Timea Babos, we do speak Hungarian together. Well, we're friends, and we know each other quite well. It's going to be a tough one definitely," Bacsinszky explained in her post-match press conference. "We played twice against each other but it was only on clay. You know, here the surface is quite different. I mean, you have to be aggressive as well.So probably it's going to be something totally different."
The Ashes is normally a fixture in cricket, but today it hits Zhuhai as Britain's No.1 takes on Australia's No.1 for the first time. Johanna Konta, the WTA's Most Improved Player of the year, is making her Zhuhai debut as the No.1 seed and riding on the back of career-best accomplishments that she achieved during the Asian Swing. After reaching her first Premier Mandatory final at the China Open and shortly afterwards rising to her highest ranking of No.9, the Brit seems right at home in China.
"What can I say? I like China!" she joked with WTA Insider. "We get treated very well here; every hotel is always really beautiful, as is every venue. They really put a lot of effort into the immediate things that surround us as tennis players, the things we experience at every event. They definitely make us feel quite comfortable."
It's been quite the opposite story for her first opponent in Zhuhai, Sam Stosur. The Australian has looked decidedly uncomfortable in Asia, posting back-to-back first round exits at Wuhan, Beijing and Hong Kong. But with a new coach on board, Stosur feels the pieces are clicking together, and she's not phased about drawing the tournament's top seed. "Jo has been constantly playing and had a great year," Stosur acknowledged. "[It's] going to be a difficult first match, but I'm ready to go. It's a good test to test yourself against I guess the highest-ranked player here."
Petra Kvitova takes the court in her debut appearance at Zhuhai with all the wind behind her sails; she turned her season around during the Asian Swing, winning her first title of the year in Wuhan and going on to reach the quarterfinals of Beijing and the final at Luxembourg. Her first opponent at the WTA Elite Trophy will be the always-tricky Roberta Vinci, who is looking for a victory to keep her semifinal hopes alive after suffering a disappointing straight-sets defeat against Barbora Strycova. She faces a familiar opponent in Kvitova, who she'll be playing for a seventh time, and she already knows what the game plan entails.
"Just my game: play aggressive," Vinci explained in her post-match press conference. "Petra is an unbelievable player; left-handed. Have to be aggressive. A lot of slice of course. I have to play a good game tomorrow to win against Petra."