Bencic to make WTA Finals debut in Shenzhen as Swiss star completes ‘elite eight’ lineup

andrewhendrie in Uncategorized 20 Oct 2019
Belinda Bencic (PA Images)
Belinda Bencic has secured the eighth and last spot in the singles field at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after making the final at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
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Bencic was in a straight shootout with Kiki Bertens for the eighth and final ticket to Shenzhen in Moscow this week, but after Bertens fell at the quarter-finals stage, the door was open for the Swiss to secure her place at the prestigious season-ending championships – and that she did, overtaking Serena Williams as she beat Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets in the semi-finals on Saturday.
It will be Bencic’s first appearance at the WTA Finals, which is reserved for the season’s best eight players, with the 22-year-old joining Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina in the field.

“It’s a dream to be competing at the WTA Finals and to be one of the top eight,” Bencic said after making the Moscow final.

“It makes it even more special that I booked my ticket at the last possible minute. This match had so much pressure and I was so nervous. Now I’m over the moon to win today and achieve this dream.

“All the eight players deserve to be there because it shows we had the most consistent seasons. This was also a big goal after all my injuries to have a really consistent goal and to reach Shenzhen is a huge bonus and a reward for an amazing season.”

Bencic first burst onto the scene as a teenage sensation at the 2015 Rogers Cup, beating a bunch of top 10 players on her way to a maiden WTA title, but she was struck down by injuries over the next couple of seasons, which stagnated her progress up the rankings after initially cracking the top 10 after that run in Canada.
However, after gradually working her way back into competition last year, Bencic compiled a consistent and career-best season in 2019, beating four top 10 players to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title, while she also finished runner-up in Mallorca and reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, Indian Wells, Madrid and Hobart.
Bencic also owns a tour-leading six wins over top five players this year, along with her leading nine triumphs over top 10 players.
The ‘Elite Eight’ in singles and doubles will be competing for a record-breaking $14 million in prize money at the WTA Finals Shenzhen, with the tournament running from October 27 to November 3.

WTA Road to Shenzhen standings

Standing Player Points 2019 titles Previous WTA Finals appearances Best WTA Finals result
1 – QUALIFIED Ashleigh Barty 6,476 French Open

Miami (Premier Mandatory)
Birmingham (Premier)

2 – QUALIFIED Karolina Pliskova 5,315

Rome (Premier-5)

Brisbane (Premier)

Eastbourne (Premier)
Zhengzhou (Premier)

3 (2016-18) SF (2017-18)
3 – QUALIFIED Naomi Osaka 5,246 Australian Open

Beijing (Premier Mandatory)Osaka (Premier)

1 (2018) RR (2018)
4 – QUALIFIED Simona Halep 4,962 Wimbledon 4 (2014, 2015-17) Runner-up (2014)
5 – QUALIFIED Bianca Andreescu 4,942

US Open

Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory)

Rogers Cup Toronto (Premier-5)

6 – QUALIFIED Petra Kvitova 4,401 Sydney (Premier)

Stuttgart (Premier)

6 (2011-15, 2018) Champion (2011)
7 – QUALIFIED Elina Svitolina 3,995 2 (2017-18) Champion (2018)
8 – QUALIFIED Belinda Bencic 3,955 Dubai (Premier-5) 0