Belinda Bencic has captured the last ticket for the WTA Finals on Saturday by reaching the final of the indoor tournament in Moscow. That also means that Kiki Bertens needs a miracle to be allowed to participate in the New Year's tournament in Shenzhen.
22-year-old Bencic dealt with Kristina Mladenovic in her semi-final match in Moscow: 6-3 and 6-4. The 26-year-old Frenchwoman, still responsible for the elimination of Bertens in the quarter-finals on Friday, made too many unnecessary mistakes to make it difficult for the Swiss and had to allow four breaks.
By reaching the final, Bencic will pass both Bertens and Serena Williams on the annual ranking. She now occupies the eighth position and that is exactly enough for a spot in the WTA Finals, for which the best eight tennis players of 2019 qualify.
Bertens drops to tenth place on that year ranking and that means that the Westland team needs two cancellations in order to be able to start the Finals on 27 October. If Bencic was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Moscow tournament, the Dutch would have needed only one cancellation.
Bertens does need a miracle, but participation in the Finals is not completely excluded for the leader of Dutch tennis. Simona Halep and Petra Kvitová recently suffered injuries and there is a chance that first reserve Serena Williams will choose not to participate.
Final position on year ranking
- 1. Ashleigh Barty * - 6,476 points
- 2. Karolína Plísková * - 5,315
- 3. Naomi Osaka * - 5,246
- 4. Simona Halep * - 4,962
- 5. Bianca Andreescu * - 4,942
- 6. Petra Kvitová * - 4,401
- 7. Elina Svitolina * - 3,995
- 8. Belinda Bencic * - 3,955
- 9. Serena Williams - 3,935
- 10. Kiki Bertens - 3,870
* = Placed for WTA Finals
Bertens made his debut on Finals last year
27-year-old Bertens made his debut last year at the WTA Finals, dotted by show and spectacle. The current number eight in the world did not manage to place itself on its own in 2018, but due to an injury by Halep, it was still able to present itself in Singapore and surprisingly reached the semi-finals there.
If nothing changes in the coming week, then the field of participants at the WTA Finals next week will consist of Bencic, Halep, Kvitová, Ashleigh Barty, Karolína Plísková, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Elina Svitolina.
Bencic owes its high ranking on the annual ranking list mainly to its semi-final place at the US Open. The current number ten in the world also won the hard court tournament in Dubai this year and did well in the Premier Mandatory tournaments in Madrid and Indian Wells (twice semi-finals).
In the final of the Moscow tournament, Bencic will face the Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or the Czech Karolína Muchová, who are currently starting their semi-final game.