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The 48th WTA Finals Highlights

Courtesy+of+WTA+Tennis
Courtesy of WTA Tennis

Courtesy of WTA Tennis

Courtesy of WTA Tennis

Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

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The annual WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Finals is a professional tennis tournament played by top-ranked players at the end of the season. Established in 2003, there are eight singles players split into two round robin groups along with eight doubles teams at the tournament. This year’s WTA Finals is taking place in Kallang, Singapore from October 21st and is expected to end on October 28th.

  The player qualifications began in late September and ended mid-October. Caroline Wozniacki, a sixth time qualifier, said, “Winning the WTA Finals last year was a huge accomplishment for me, and helped my confidence leading into this season. I look forward to coming back to Singapore to try and defend my title.”

  A day after player qualifications concluded, the draw was carried out and the pairings were announced. Former world number one Angelique Kerber is leader of the Red Group, whereas defending champion Wozniacki is leader of the White Group.

  Petra Kvitova, a member of the White Group, stated, “Everyone here is a great player and they are here because they had a great season. It means that no matter the draw, every single match is going to be tough and we have to be ready. You really cannot choose, [that is] how it is and [that is] what makes it exciting.”

  On Sunday, October 21st, Kvitova and Elina Svitolina kicked off the first day of the WTA Finals with some White Group action. Kvitova impressed the crowd with some of her intense shots, such as a volley winner, forehand winner, and a dropshot during the first set. Svitolina ended up winning the first set.

  Kathy Nguyen (9), who enjoys watching tennis in her free time, said, “At first, I thought Kvitova was going to win due to her aggressive shots and quick timing, but as the sets progressed, I started to see how Svitolina’s consistency would prevail in the end. It has taught me that tennis games sometimes do not play out how you expected them to, so it is important to be prepared for anything that can happen.”

  During the second set, Svitolina returned with a strong serve and followed with a backhand down the line earning her a point. Later on in the set, Kvitova served and volleyed for the hold. Svitolina ended up defeating Kvitova 6-3, 6-3, placing the White Group in the lead.

  Naomi Osaka, the third rank women’s tennis player, and Sloane Stephens, the fifth rank, played on day two of the WTA Finals. Having already played each other in 2016 at Acapulco, the showdown between the last two US Open Champions was highly anti

cipated. As Osaka ran up to net after hitting crosscourt, Stephens aimed for a deep down the line shot winning the point. Later on in the set after talking with her coach, Osaka broke back to 4-4 with a forehand shot that carried a lot of topspin. Stephens won the first set 7-5.

  Harshitha Gumdala (12), co-captain of the West Girls’ Tennis Team, said, “Although I have never seen them play each other before, I still expected Osaka to win because [she is] such an aggressive and well-rounded [player]. I think Sloane’s placement and power helped her to triumph over Osaka in the end. Overall I think it was interesting to watch.”

  Osaka led the second set by 1-0. She continued to take the lead after hitting two backhands at a short and wide angle. After many breaks, Osaka won the second set 6-4. The third and final set ended with many plays between Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka including a lengthy rally. Stephens ended up defeating Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, allowing the Red Group to move to 1-0.

  The 48th WTA Finals has marked milestones for many players as they continue to compete for the grand prize. The prize consists of the Billie Jean King trophy for singles players, the Martina Navratilova Trophy for the doubles players, and $7 million.

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Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

Christine Nguyen is a sophomore staff writer for Smoke Signals. She enjoys listening to music, reading, and dancing. She plays tennis as well as the piano...

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