Bianca Andreescu is the youngest player at the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen (PA Sports)
Eight crucial stats to know about the player field for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen.
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Get to know the ‘elite eight’, the best players of the season who will be competing for the prestigious title – as well as a record-breaking $14 million in prize money – at the 2019 WTA Finals.
World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty leads the field, joined by Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and defending champion Elina Svitolina as the year-end championships are played in Shenzhen for the first time from 27 October-3 November.
It’s a promising mix of first-timers and veterans, Grand Slam champions and those who have excelled at WTA Tour level, but how well do you know the elite eight?
We bring you eight crucial stats to know about the player field at the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen.
Best winning percentage vs the field
Of all the stats, this is a great one to know ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen.
We’ve looked at how each of the players fares against the other seven – and it turns out that only three players, Bianca Andreescu, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova, have a winning record against the rest of the field.
Four of the others have losing records, the exception being Belinda Bencic, who is 9-9 against the rest.
The best winning percentage vs the field belongs to US Open champion Andreescu, who famously won her first eight matches against top-10 players during this breakthrough season and comes in with a 3-1 record against the rest; her sole defeat to a top-10 player or a member of the Shenzhen field coming against Naomi Osaka in Beijing a few weeks ago.
Impressive as Andreescu’s record is, it’s a small sample size. She has never faced Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova, and the other four only once.
Among players who have faced the other seven more than four times, Halep narrowly has the best winning percentage (65.7%), just leading Kvitova (65.5%).
The player in the field who has the worst record against the others? Top seed Barty.
Record vs the field
Record vs the field
Most wins in 2019
Of the eight players in the WTA Finals Shenzhen field, none have won more matches in 2019 than French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, who won 52 matches and lost 11 during a season which saw her win the Miami Open and Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham in addition to her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
In terms of a winning percentage, however, Bianca Andreescu leads after winning 48 of the 53 matches she played in 2019 – an incredible record, even if it’s notable that, due to the shoulder injury she sustained which kept her all but completely off court from Miami through to the Rogers Cup, she didn’t play at all on grass and only once on clay. This might only make her stats more formidable coming into the hard-court Shenzhen event.
At the other end of the scale, defending champion Svitolina won both the fewest matches over the course of the year, going 35-21, but also had the worst winning percentage, down at 62.5%. Svitolina is the only player in the field who did not win a title in 2019 (so far).
Win-loss record in 2019
It’s the second year in a row that three of the eight-player field are making their debut at the WTA Finals.
In 2019, it’s world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and Dubai winner Belinda Bencic who will be playing in the singles field for the first time (Barty has already played doubles at the year-end championships).
The last player to win the title on their first appearance at the WTA Finals was Dominika Cibulkova in Singapore in 2016. Petra Kvitova also did it in Istanbul in 2011.
Of the five players who are returning to the WTA Finals in 2019, Petra Kvitova is the most experienced at the tournament.
The Czech will be making her seventh appearance at the season-ending championships in 2019, after having qualified for the first time in 2011. Champion on her debut, Kvitova will become just the fifth player to have made seven or more appearances at the year-end championship, joining Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva, each of whom appeared at seven editions of the WTA Finals, and Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, both of whom have played at eight.
Kvitova is also the only woman in the field to have featured in multiple finals at the year-end championships, having finished runner-up to Radwanska in 2015 as well as winning it in 2011. Halep (2014) and Svitolina (2018) have each made one.
Two former champions
Only two women in the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen field have triumphed at the year-end championships in the past.
The first is defending champion Elina Svitolina, who came in unheralded to the tournament in 2018 and ended up going undefeated, winning the biggest title of her career by defeating Sloane Stephens in the final.
The second is Petra Kvitova, who won the WTA Finals in Istanbul in 2011, defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final. Kvitova has made five subsequent appearances at the WTA Finals but not recaptured the title, although she did finish runner-up to Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015.
The last four editions of the WTA Finals have seen four different champions. Not since Serena Williams won the tournament three times in a row in 2012-14 has a player retained the title. The last player to win a maiden WTA Finals title and successfully defend it the next year was Justine Henin in 2006-7; Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Kim Clijsters also accomplished this feat.
Youngest player: Bianca Andreescu
The youngest player in the WTA Finals field is Bianca Andreescu, who will be 19 years, four months and 11 days old when the 2019 tournament begins on 27 October.
Andreescu will be the youngest player to make her WTA Finals debut since 2009, when Caroline Wozniacki played her first WTA Finals in Doha aged 19 years, 3 months and 16 days.
The last teenager to win the title was Martina Hingis in 1998.
Best record at the WTA Finals
Of the five players who have appeared before at the year-end championships, it’s Petra Kvitova who has played the most matches (21) and won the most matches (10).
But when it comes to percentage of matches won at the WTA Finals, it’s Elina Svitolina who outdoes the rest by some margin. With a 6-2 record, Svitolina has won 75% of the matches she’s played at the year-end championships, considerably outstripping Kvitova (10-11, 47.6%), Pliskova (5-6, 45.4%) and Halep (6-8, 42.8%).
The worst record belongs to Naomi Osaka, who failed to win a single match on her debut in 2018, going 0-3 in the round-robin stages with defeats to Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber, and a retirement against Kiki Bertens.
The best record in recent tournaments among the eight-player field belongs to Naomi Osaka, who has played just two events since the US Open and established a perfect 10-0 record, winning the titles in Osaka and Beijing.
The players who have played the most matches since the US Open are Elina Svitolina (12), Osaka (10), and Ashleigh Barty and Belinda Bencic, both with nine.
However, if you look at the number of events played, it’s unsurprisingly the last two players to qualify – Svitolina and Bencic – who have played the most, with Svitolina competing in all five weeks since the US Open, Bencic playing for four of them.
Will that hurt or hinder their chances when compared to, say, Simona Halep, who played four matches across two events, or Bianca Andreescu, who has only played one event since the US Open?
Of the last four women to win the WTA Finals, three of them played four events between the US Open and the WTA Finals, and they all won nine or more matches, with 2015 WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska playing 16 matches between the US Open and the year-end championships. Should the pattern hold, it would be Bencic, Barty, Osaka and Svitolina who come into Shenzhen with the advantage of plenty of recent matches.
The exception? Svitolina, who only played five matches across three tournaments before going on to win the 2018 WTA Finals.
It’s worth noting that the WTA Finals has moved back an extra week in the calendar this year, however, so that no player comes in directly off the back of success in Moscow or Luxembourg.
WTA Finals Shenzhen 2019: Eight stats about the player field for the WTA’s year-end championships
Eight crucial stats to know about the player field for the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen. *Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to…
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