With the Brit on a huge rise up the WTA rankings, we take a look at Johanna Konta‘s chances to qualify directly for the end of season event.
At the start of the year Konta continued her rise up the rankings, reaching her first ever Grand Slam semifinal, a feat that had not been achieved by a British lady since Jo Durie back in the 1980s.
Following this the Brit had continued great results that took Konta up the rankings and into the top 20.
Despite a bad run at the French Open (Brits are never very good on clay – well, unless you count Andy Murray, who won his first two clay titles in 2015, and made his first ever French Open final in 2016), the Brit was still on a very big rise up the rankings through May.
It wasn’t long before Konta had sealed her place in the top 20 of the WTA rankings. She wasn’t satisfied with this, however, and with continued hard work and deep runs in tournaments, she claimed the title in Stanford.
Knocking out Venus Williams in the final, Konta had cemented her place in the top echelons of ladies’ tennis.
Reaching the end of year event in Singapore would always be a goal for the top eight ladies. Just like the ATP has the World Tour Finals, currently held in London, the WTA has the equivalent World Tour Finals and in 2016 it will be held in Singapore.
With continued good results in the Premier Mandatories–the worst result being in Madrid, where she went out in the first round–Konta has stayed strong in the race all year long. At every other Mandatory event, the Brit made at least the fourth round.
In the Premier 5 events, the Brit made the third round or better in the four events she played in 2016. This, alongside the run to the final in Beijing (Premier Mandatory) last week, saw Konta break into the top ten for the first time.
On the road to Singapore, the Brit currently stands in the eighth and final qualifying spot. This does not mean she has sealed her place there, however, as there are events still progressing whereby those around the Brit can secure more points and over take.
Konta herself is playing in Hong Kong and so far has made the second round (at the time of writing). To secure her place in Singapore as of right, the Brit needs to go deep in the event, and most importantly at least one round further than her nearest rivals.
There is no reason to doubt that Konta can qualify as of right for the year ending championships; it will be a tough ask as those around her are also still playing for places.
The world of British tennis is changing, with a male and female in the top ten on both sides – which is the first time this has ever happened. It could well be the first year that a British man and a British woman have qualified for the singles at the respective year end events.