Tennis: Spanish world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza first to earn spot at year-end WTA Finals in Singapore

Garbine Mugurusa of Spain hits a return to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during their 2017 US Open Women's Singles match at the Usta Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on Sept 3, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Newly-crowned world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza will be in town next month to play in the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, after becoming the first singles player to book her place at the prestigious tennis event.

It will be the Spaniard's fourth appearance in as many editions in Singapore. The 23-year-old made her maiden bow here when she played in the doubles event in 2014. She then played both the singles and doubles event in 2015, the year she was a semi-finalist in the singles event. Last year, she competed in the singles event.

Said Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion after lifting this year's Wimbledon crown: "Every season one of my main goals is to qualify for Singapore, as it is proof that you are one of the best eight players of the year.

"I have great memories of the tournament and the city. It will be my fourth year in a row there, and I look forward to playing my best tennis."

This year's WTA Finals from Oct 22-29 will be the penultimate round of the Singapore edition, now into the fourth of the five that will be staged here.

While her peers will continue the remainder of the season hoping to secure one of the seven spots left at the season finale, a third pair has been confirmed for the doubles event after Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua also qualified.

This will be their debut at the WTA Finals, qualifying after a year in which they have reached six finals so far. Among their notable results this season include lifting titles in Malaysia, Strasbourg and Birmingham, as well as a final spot at the French Open.

Said Barty: "It really is a dream to compete at our first WTA Finals and we can't wait to play in front of the fans in Singapore."

Barty and Dellacqua join the pairings of Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-jan, and Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who had qualified earlier.

The US$7 million (S$9.4 million) WTA Finals features the top eight singles and top eight doubles pairings of the season.

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