WORLD NO 6 Caroline Wozniacki was in town last week and speaking to young tennis players at the Singapore Sports Institute, the Dane told them she was trying to make the cut for next month’s Women’s Tennis Association Finals here.
Somebody whispered: “I thought the top-eight ranked players qualify, so why is she still trying?”
That’s a good question.
I have to admit I was one of the “I thought” crowd. But the Finals is only into its second edition here and many—like me—have not paid close attention to how the qualifying system works.
So, I did some research, and I hope this saves you the trouble in attempting to re-invent the wheel to get your head around it.
The US$7 million WTA Finals will be hosted at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from Oct 25 to Nov 1 and, yes, the top eight qualify but not those on the WTA Ranking list that is used to seed players in tournaments. Instead they are from a separate list.
WTA Ranking versus WTA Finals Ranking
Wozniacki is No 6 on the WTA Ranking and the points in this leaderboard are a cumulative total over a period of 52 weeks. This means that her current 3385 points are the sum from the tournaments she played since Sept 21, 2014 till Sept 21 this year. She is up at that spot chiefly because the total includes points she won at last year’s Singapore Finals.
The leaderboard used for next month’s tournament is a separate ranking that tallies points played in tournaments from Jan 1, 2015 until the Kremlin Cup, which ends on Oct 25, the day the WTA Finals officially begins.
Wozniacki has had a poor season this year and that is why she is in 14th on this ranking list for the WTA Finals. She has yet to qualify, but has enough time to do so. The table below lists the two different rankings of the Dane.
Wozniacki’s WTA and WTA Finals Points
So, the first thing to note is that players don’t qualify for the Finals based on their 52-week WTA Rankings (Sept 21, 2014-Sept 21, 2015) that seed them for tournaments.
They instead qualify for Singapore from the points they earned from Jan 1, 2015 to just before the tournament at the Indoor Stadium next month. This is what is referred to as the Road to Singapore WTA Finals Ranking.
How points are calculated for the WTA Finals
The points for each player are taken from their best 16 tournament results and these must include all four Grand Slams —Australian, Wimbledon, French and US Opens — and the four Premier Mandatory tournaments at Indian Wells, Madrid, Miami and Beijing. The points from the remaining best eight results are collected from the Premier 5 tournaments (Doha, Rome, Cincinnati, Montréal/Toronto or Wuhan), from which the top 20 players can only choose two of their best results, plus other WTA tournaments.
Here is another example of Serena Williams’ ranking from the past 52 weeks, from which she is seeded, and her performance so far this year heading to the next month’s Finals.
The same points and ranking system are applied for the Finals doubles competition at the Indoor Stadium.
For a breakdown of the points awarded for each category of the above tournaments go here: All about rankings.
Who can still make it to Singapore?
Serena Williams was the first to qualify for the WTA Finals after the American won the first three Grand Slams for a massive total 6,000 points. With a win also in Miami, and semi-final spots at the US Open, Indian Wells and Madrid, she booked her spot in July, after lifting her sixth Wimbledon title.
Simona Halep made it through in mid-August and Maria Sharapova earlier this month.
With a total of 2840 points still up for grabs in the ongoing Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, the Wuhan Open next week, and the China and Kremlin Opens next month, those within the top 29 in the WTA Finals ranking are still in the reckoning.
Most of the top seeds are playing in the first three tournaments including Wozniacki, with only Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safariva from among the top 10 also heading to Kremlin. They will have ample time to make it to Singapore before the tournament proper begins.
So, despite her less than ideal Finals Ranking Wozniacki may still make a date with Singapore because the field is still wide open for the remaining five places.
Leaderboard heading to the WTA Finals