The 2017 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai is the third event of its kind. Players who just missed the high-end WTA Finals (with the top eight players) in Singapore do not get completely shut out. They can compete among each other. Four groups of three players comprise the 12-player field. The four players who win a group advance to the knockout-stage semifinals, followed by a championship match.
The competition in the 12-player event begins on Tuesday, October 31.
Event: WTA Elite Trophy
Category: WTA Year-End Tournament (second level)
Date: October 31 – November 6, 2017
Location: Hengqin International Tennis Center at Zhuhai– Zhuhai, China
The 2017 WTA Elite Trophy does not skimp on prize money, especially since it is not for the very best players, only the second level of quality tennis players on the planet.
With a prize money allotment of just under $2.3 million, split among just 12 players, this is a chance for players ranked outside the top eight but inside the top 20 (plus a wild card) to collect an extra paycheck at the end of the tennis season.
The points structure for this event:
Championship: 700 points
Any round-robin match win: 80 points per win
Any round-robin match played: 40 points per match played
Former Champions and Results
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016 – Petra Kvitova def. Elina Svitolina – 6-4, 6-2
2015 – Venus Williams def. Karolina Pliskova – 7-5, 7-6
These were the two previous years in which the Zhuhai tournament took place. A previous iteration of the tournament took place in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Here’s a very brief look at the 2017 seasons for the 12 players in this tournament:
Kristina Mladenovic made the quarterfinals of the French Open and then got injured at Wimbledon and was not able to do much of anything the rest of the year. This is a tournament where she will try to make a fresh start. She is 35-24 on the season but she does much better on clay. She is 9-3 on the red surface versus 6-4 on grass and 11-15 on the hard courts.
CoCo Vandeweghe reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the U.S. Open, so she played well in big events. However, weekly consistency proved to be elusive for most of the season. The challenge for Vandeweghe is to bring her best every week. On the season, she is 26-17 overall but that includes a record of 6-3 on grass, 3-2 on clay but 16-10 on the hard courts.
Sloane Stephens won the U.S. Open championship to complete a rise of over 900 ranking spots after being injured for several months and making her return in the summer. Stephens steadily gained form and fitness in August, going deep into multiple tournaments and preparing for her career breakthrough in New York, a life-changing moment for a player who now has to be thought of as a star.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova struggled a lot this season, especially at the Grand Slam tournaments, . The one exception to that was Australia, where she made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. She also made the Indian Wells (Premier Mandatory) quarterfinals, which gave her enough of a boost to make this field. She’s a healthy 40-22 on the season, which is quite strong. She did well on clay (8-3) and hard courts (30-15) but has struggled on grass (2-3).
Elena Vesnina won Indian Wells, a surprising and spectacular achievement for a player who is part of one of the world’s two best doubles teams with Ekaterina Makarova. (The other doubles team is Chang-Hingis.) She did not do much at other big tournaments, but Indian Wells more than made her year.
Anastasija Sevastova made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open before losing to Stephens. She won at least two matches in three of four major tournaments this year. She reached a Premier Mandatory semifinal as well. She’s had a relatively decent year but most of her success has come on clay and grass. She’s a combined 19-8 on those surfaces but just 13-12 on the hard courts this year.
Barbora Strycova reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and was able to reach the round of 32 or better at multiple Premier Mandatory events, which helped her to get this far. Strycova is an impressive 41-23 on the year, including 21-14 on the hard courts and 6-4 on clay and 5-3 on grass.
Angelique Kerber hoped to be at the WTA Finals. Instead, she has to settle for this tournament after her pronounced fall from the World No. 1 ranking. She went 17-10 as the World No. 1 player this year, which is a bad record for a player who expected to achieve so much more, but her collection of round-of-16 appearances comfortably put her into this field.
Julia Goerges surpassed Kerber as the German No. 1 player on the WTA Tour. Making the fourth round of the U.S. Open helped her a lot. She made the round of 32 at several Premier Mandatory tournaments.
Ashleigh Barty experienced a breakthrough year on tour after taking time off to play cricket. Refreshed in her return to tennis, the Australian made the final in Wuhan and won multiple matches at the Australian and U.S. Opens. She scored several notable match wins over the course of the season.
Magdalena Rybarikova was ranked in the 700s last winter. She didn’t rise as high as Stephens did, but she joined Stephens in climbing into the top 30 with an incredible run of form. Rybarikova reached the Wimbledon semifinals and was able to collect multiple match wins at a lot of tournaments in the second half of the season. She recently ended Maria Sharapova’s season by beating the Russian in Moscow. She didn’t merely surface at Wimbledon and then go into hiding – she remained relevant on tour.
Peng Shuai is the wild card entry, ostensibly to sell tickets in China for this event. She had a very undistinguished season, but these year-end tournaments often give players with her profile a chance to be very dangerous, since she is physically fresher than a lot of the players she will face.
Hengqin International Tennis Center at Zhuhai
The building is a new facility with a stadium court owning a 5,000-seat capacity. There is a 1,500-seat second court and four 250-seat side courts, plus ample training courts.
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