Tennis: Serena Williams the fastest qualifier for this year's WTA Finals Singapore

Women's tennis world No. 1 Serena Williams has been confirmed as the first player to qualify for this year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.
Women's tennis world No. 1 Serena Williams has been confirmed as the first player to qualify for this year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE- Women's tennis world No. 1 Serena Williams has been confirmed as the first player to qualify for this year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the first player to secure qualification for the elite season-ending event this year.

This will be Williams' 10th appearance at the WTA Finals. She returns to Singapore as the defending champion and the winner of the past three editions.

"I'm really thrilled to be the first player to qualify for the WTA Finals and I can't wait to return to Singapore to defend my title," she said. "Last year was my first time visiting Singapore and I really enjoyed myself - the crowd is amazing and I'm excited to be going back."

The 33-year-old has had a stellar season so far, winning the Australia Open and the French Open to bring her total of Grand Slam singles titles to 20.

She is tied with German great Steffi Graf with 5 WTA Finals wins, and she is also trying to beat Graf's Grand Slam record of 22 singles titles .

"Serena is once again inspiring our fans with another historic season and I congratulate her on becoming the first player to secure her place at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global," said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO.

"I am thrilled for our fans in Singapore that they will have an opportunity to watch one of the greatest players to ever play women's tennis. Excitement has been building all year as players move up and down on the Road to Singapore Leaderboard, and our second edition of our season finale in October promises to be very exciting."

Last year, the WTA Finals saw the most attendance, TV viewing and online audiences at the 10-day competition to see who which player can gain the title to be the best women tennis player.

The event will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub from Oct 23 to Nov 1.

marcusl@sph.com.sg