HONG KONG • Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia became the eighth and final player to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore after Britain's Johanna Konta withdrew from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow next week due to a foot injury.
Garcia won back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, beating Simona Halep in the final of the latter to move past Konta in the Race to Singapore rankings at the start of this month, but withdrew from the ongoing Tianjin Open with an injury.
Her withdrawal gave Konta an outside chance of qualifying for the Oct 22-29 event, although she would have had to reach the Moscow final to edge Garcia out.
"Qualifying for (my first) WTA Finals in Singapore means the world to me," Garcia told the WTA website (www.wtatennis.com).
"I'm very proud to be among the top eight players of the season and I'm looking forward to being part of that incredible field."
However, Konta could still play in Singapore after Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki pulled out of the Hong Kong Open yesterday due to injury, putting their spots in doubt for the WTA Finals.
Konta is the next highest-ranked player and qualifies as one of two alternates to travel to Singapore. She will replace Svitolina or Wozniacki should either of them be unfit.
WTA FINALS SLATE
1 Simona Halep (Rom)
2 Garbine Muguruza (Esp)
3 Karolina Pliskova (Cze)
4 Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
5 Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
6 Venus Williams (USA)
7 Jelena Ostapenko (Lat)
8 Caroline Garcia (Fra)
But Konta will need to recover from her injury as well, or the next alternate, 10th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic, will play instead.
Svetlana Kuznetsova, in 11th, could also be a last-minute call-up if all three injured players fail to recover in time for Singapore.
Wozniacki pulled out before her match against Lizette Cabrera with elbow pain, sending the Australian teenager into the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open.
"Unfortunately I hurt my elbow during practice and there was no way I could perform my best," the Dane said.
Svitolina failed to recover from a right leg injury to start her match against American Nicole Gibbs.
The Ukrainian told AFP that she suffered the injury during her mammoth 3hr 21min quarter-final defeat in Beijing last week by Garcia.
"I picked up the injury a little bit in Beijing," she said. "It's the groin. All the time when I go for wide shots or stretch I feel it.
In Shanghai, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters yesterday with a 6-3, 6-1 thrashing of temperamental Italian Fabio Fognini.
Second-ranked Roger Federer defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS