Tennis: French Open champ Ostapenko seals Singapore berth for 1st time

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko has had a season to remember. She won the French Open in June and claimed her second WTA singles title in Seoul last month.
Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko has had a season to remember. She won the French Open in June and claimed her second WTA singles title in Seoul last month.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko earned a maiden appearance at the WTA Finals yesterday when she became the seventh singles player to book her spot at the season-ending showpiece.

The 20-year-old Latvian joins world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in the elite eight-woman singles field for the Oct 22-29 event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The top eight singles players will qualify for the WTA Finals.

Ostapenko secured her ticket to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after Briton Johanna Konta - holding the eighth and final qualification spot in the Porsche Race to Singapore - withdrew from next week's Hong Kong Tennis Open on Tuesday.

Ostapenko defeated Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 7-5 to reach the third round of the China Open in Beijing yesterday.

"I am really happy to qualify," the Latvian, who won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June, told The Straits Times.

"I think I had a great year so far and hopefully I can show my best tennis (in Singapore)."

She started the year at No. 44 in the WTA rankings but has since risen to a career-high No. 8.

Despite losing in the first round of the China Open, Konta can still complete the WTA Finals singles field this week if Russia's Elena Vesnina fails to win the title and France's Caroline Garcia falls before the semi-finals in Beijing.

Australian Ashleigh Barty's hopes of qualifying for Singapore ended yesterday after she was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Ukraine's world No. 3 Svitolina.

Last year, Konta was denied her WTA Finals debut a day before the competition began, when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the Kremlin Cup.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2017, with the headline 'French Open champ Ostapenko seals S'pore berth for 1st time'. Print Edition | Subscribe