London | Preview: 12 of the best line up for WTA Elite Trophy

The 2023 WTA Elite Trophy, which takes place from 22-29 October at the Hengqin Tennis Center in Zhuhai, China, is the second-tier year-end finals on the WTA Tour contested by the 12 singles players who did not make the cut in the Race to the WTA Finals that follows on in Cancun, Mexico.

The Elite Trophy field is led this year by the Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova, who has reached 4 finals this season, winning titles at the WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and WTA 500 Cymbiotika San Diego Open, and finished as the runner-up at the WTA 500 Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open and WTA 250 Rothesay Classic Birmingham.

America’s Madison Keys is set to make her 4th appearance in Zhuhai, and secured her place this year courtesy of her 7th career singles title at the WTA 500 Rothesay International Eastbourne, in addition to a semi-final run at the US Open.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia will be making her Zhuhai debut, and has enjoyed a string of consistent results across 2023, including a title at the WTA 250 Rothesay Classic in Birmingham, reaching the semi-final at the WTA 1000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, and making a further 4 quarter-finals, including at the Australian Open and the US Open.

Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova picked up her second career title this season, winning at the WTA 500 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, and also reached the final on grass at the Libéma Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Liudmila Samsonova, another Russian, posted a new career-high ranking this season of No 12 and reached the two biggest finals of her career in 2023, at the WTA 1000 events at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montreal and the China Open in Beijing, while she also made an additional final at the WTA 500 Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open to set her on the road to qualifying for Zhuhai.


Aryna Sabalenka (L) won the last edition of the WTA Elite Trophy, beating Kiki Bertens in the 2019 final in Zhuhai, south China

© STR/AFP via Getty Images

Daria Kasatkina, the 3rd Russian in the field, played the WTA Elite Trophy in 2018 and is returning to Zhuhai coming off 2 finals appearances this season, finishing as runner-up at the WTA 500 Adelaide International and on the grass of the WTA 500 Rothesay International Eastbourne.

It has been a history-making season for Beatriz Haddad Maia, who became the first Brazilian woman to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam since Maria Bueno in 1968 with her run to the Last 4 at Roland Garros, while she also became the first of her countrywomen to break into the WTA Top 10 in the Open Era.

Home favourite Zheng Qinwen enters the WTA Elite Trophy in red-hot form coming off the biggest title of her career earlier this month at the WTA 500 Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open.

Earlier this season, the Chinese won her first Hologic WTA Tour title, at the WTA 250 34 Ladies Palermo Open, and also posted her best Grand Slam result by making the quarter-finals at the US Open.

Caroline Garcia, the Frenchwoman who won the WTA Finals last year, is making her 3rd appearance at the WTA Elite Trophy, having made her debut at the tournament in 2016.

The World No 10 reached the 15th and 16th finals of her career this season, at the WTA 250 events at the Open 6e Sens Métropole de Lyon and Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey.

Donna Vekic is another player bringing previous Zhuhai experience with her to this year’s event, the Croatian having made her debut here in 2019.

She won the 5th title of her career at the WTA 250 Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, and also made an additional final at the WTA 500 bett1open presented by ecotrans Group in Berlin, while she matched her best Grand Slam result with a quarter-final run at the Australian Open.

Poland’s Magda Linette has already reached one final on Chinese soil this year, finishing as runner-up at the WTA 250 Galaxy Holding Group Guangzhou Open in September, and she has also enjoyed her best Grand Slam performance by reaching the semi-final at the Australian Open this season, while she broke into the WTA Top 20 for the first time in her career, peaking at No 19 in the rankings.

Entering as a wild card, Zhu Lin has enjoyed a breakout season on the Hologic WTA Tour, winning the WTA 250 Thailand Open in Hua Hin and contesting the title match at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships in Osaka, also a WTA 250 tournament.


Ashleigh Barty won The Elite Trophy in 2018 at Hengqin Tennis Center in Zhuhai, China

© Kevin Lee/Getty Images

The doubles teams vying for WTA Elite Trophy feature the pairings of Kudermetova & Haddad Maia, Aldila Sutjiadi & Miyu Kato, Marie Bouzkova & Sara Sorribes Tormo, Ulrikke Eikeri & Lyudmyla Kichenok, with further wild cards awarded to Xu Yifan & Wang Xiyu in addition to Jiang Xinyu & Tang Qianhui.

The singles players at the WTA Elite Trophy are placed in 4 round-robin groups of 3, and the qualifying criterion is based on ranking points accrued during the season from 16 tournaments, with the Top 11 players who missed out on the WTA Finals earning direct entry.

Aryna Sabalenka won the last staging of this event in 2019 before it was suspended in subsequent years due to the coronavirus pandemic in mainland China.

Now in its 6th edition under the current format, a new champion is guaranteed, following Petra Kvitova’s withdrawal.




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