The tennis season is coming to a close and that can only mean one thing, the WTA Championships are back.
The top 8 players in the women’s game will descend on Singapore to decide who will take the final major honour of the season.
The WTA Finals, as they are better known, are considered to be the fifth most prestigious competition on the circuit behind the four Majors and it boasts the largest prize money and ranking points after the Grand Slams.
It is a competition that the U.S.A have had a firm dominance on since its inception in 1972. Chris Evert won four of the first six tournaments, finishing runner up in the two others, while Martina Navratilova dominated the competition in the 1980’s. Since the turn of the century, it has been Serena Williams who has taken over the mantle. The current champion first won the title in 2001 and followed that up with victories in 2009, 2012 and last year.
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The 2013 final saw her defeat Li Na of China 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 after she had defeated Jelena Jankovic in the semi-final. Serena will be back again this year to complete a hat-trick of consecutive titles, where she would become the first player since Monica Seles in the early 1990’s to do so.
The WTA Finals also includes a doubles tournament, which has ran since 1973. The outcome has run a similar path to that of the singles competition in that it has been dominated by American players, and more specifically, Navratilova again.
While representing the U.S.A, Navratilova won nine doubles titles to go alongside her eight singles titles with her partner Pam Shriver.
This year it has been an Italian pair who have been pulling up trees on the doubles circuit. Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were the first pair to qualify after winning five WTA events across the season as well as two Grand Slams in Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
They will be joined by Asian pair Peng Shuia and Hsieh Su-wei who are the current doubles champions. Like last year, Shuia and Su-wei qualified for the WTA finals behind Errani and Vinci and will hope that the parallels between 2013 and 2014 continue as they hunt consecutive titles.