- Second-seeded Sofia Kenin is the favorite entering the WTA Elite Trophy
- The second-tier season-ending event is open to players #9-19 in the WTA rankings, plus wild card entries
- Current world #1 Ashleigh Barty won last year’s event
It could be argued that the title of the WTA Elite Trophy is a misnomer.
Contested in Zhuhai, China from October 22nd-27th, in theory the event is supposed to be contested by the players situated between #9-19 in the WTA world rankings, plus one wild card entry.
It’s an opportunity for those players who miss out on the WTA Finals to also have a shot at one more competition.
In reality, many of the players on that list opt to give the tournament a pass.
On the other hand, the WTA Elite Trophy can be viewed as a tremendous stepping stone. Last year, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty defeated China’s Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
2019 WTA Elite Trophy Odds
*Odds taken on 10/19/19
Today, Barty is the French Open champion and the world’s #1-ranked player. World #6 Petra Kvitova won the WTA Elite Trophy in 2016, beating current world #8 Elina Svitolina in the final.
What all this means is that going forward, it’s not a bad gameplan to consider the WTA Elite Trophy champion when wagering on future women’s tennis tournaments.
The unique tourney format sees the 12 players divided into four groups of three players for pool play. The four group winners clash in the semifinals, with two the two semifinal winners deciding the title.
No #2 seed Sofia Kenin is established as the +450 favorite to win this year’s event. She’s currently ranked #12 in the world.
Seven of the eligible players ranked between #9-19 opted to enter.
As the world #10, Kiki Bertens barely missed out from earning her ticket to the WTA Finals but will come into the WTA Elite Trophy as the third-seeded player.
Americans Kenin and Madison Keys (#13), a 2018 US Open finalist, are the next highest-rated players in the field.
Others entered include #14 Aryna Sabalenka, #15 Petra Martic, Elise Mertens (#18), and Alison Riske (#19).
— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) October 17, 2019
Donna Vekic (#20), Maria Sakkari (#22), Dayana Yastremska (#24) and Karolina Muchova (#26) also qualified for the fifth annual event with total prize money of over $2.4 million. Mertens, Keys and Sabalenka are entered for the second successive season.
China’s Saisai Zheng was awarded the wild card entry. She’s 40th in the world. Zheng beat Sabalenka earlier this year in the San Diego Open final.
Three eligible players withdrew from the tournament.
Those pulling out of the 12-player field include world #11 Johanna Konta. The Brit dropped out due to a knee injury.
Johanna Konta has brought her season to a premature end because of a knee injury. The British number one has not played since losing to Elina Svitolina in the US Open quarter-finals in early September. pic.twitter.com/xaSZZDDIaC
— PA Sport (@pasport) October 18, 2019
World #13 Angelique Kerber (leg injury) and #18 Marketa Vondrousova (left wrist injury), also dropped out of the event.
WTA Elite Trophy Draw
Bertens, Vekic and Yastremska will compete in the Azalea Group. Kenin, Riske and Muchova are housed in the Camellia Group.
📢 2019 #WTAElitetrophy singles players !! 👇👏👏best luck to you all at #Zhuhai ! @kikibertens @SabalenkaA @Madison_Keys @PetraMartic1991 @DonnaVekic@Riske4rewards@SofiaKenin @elise_mertens@mariasakkari
Dayana Yastremska @Zheng_Saisai@WTA #WETZ19 pic.twitter.com/m8KNQWBwRO
— WTA Elite Trophy (@WTAEliteTrophy) October 21, 2019
The Orchid Group consists of Keys, Martic and Zheng. Sabalenka, Mertens and Sakkari are pooled in the Rose Group.
Riske All Business in China
If anyone should feel at home in China, it’s Riske. She’s reached nine finals during her WTA career. Six of those final appearances have come on Chinese soil.
Her first-ever WTA tournament win was the 2014 Tianjin Open. This season, Riske reached the final of the Wuhan Open.
The 29-year-old American won earlier this year at Hertogenbosch, and she reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. That was her best career showing in a Grand Slam event, and moved Riske in the WTA top 20 rankings for the first time.
Who Will Be Elite?
Barty made history last year as the first champion of this event who didn’t go undefeated. She also won as the nine seed.
Julia Gorges won as the seven seed in 2017, while 2016 winner Kvitova was seeded third. Only the first winner, Venus Williams in 2015, did so as the top-seeded player.
That being the case, ignore seedings and look at form.
Riske plays well in China but seldom wins. Kenin recently won in Ghangzhou. Her only losses on this Asian portion of the WTA Tour have been to Barty, #2 Karolina Pliskova and Kvitova.
Pick: Sofia Kenin (+450)
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