The WTA Finals will be held in Shenzhen for the second straight year, with the best eight players in the 2020 season set to feature. The tournament is live from 1-8 November.
WTA Finals 2020 Predictions
World No. 1, Ashleigh Barty capped a brilliant season by winning the 2020 Finals in her debut appearance, and the 23-year-old Aussie is well placed to return to Shenzhen for a second straight year. Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin and the ever consistent Simona Halep are also comfortably lodged in the qualifying positions, while young guns, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka have made early move in their bid to be part of the elite eight for the first time.
The top eight players on the Race to Shenzhen will qualify for the season-ending championships.
The WTA Finals is hugely significant on the tour, offering as much as 1,500 points, more than any other WTA tournament, and second only to the Grand Slams. The eight players are divided into two groups of four, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.
Martina Navratilova, with eight titles is the most successful player in the tournament’s history, while Serena Williams and Steffi Graff are joint second with five titles.
Can Ashleigh Barty defend her title?
No player has successfully defended the WTA Finals since Serena Williams claimed a hat-trick of titles between 2012 and 2014- that’s the size of the task before Ashleigh Barty in 2020. In fact, the Finals has been so open in recent seasons that there have been first time champions in each of the last five seasons.
The world No. 1 has made a good start to 2020, carrying on from where she left off last season. She suffered a surprise defeat to Jennifer Brady in her season opener in Brisbane, but she responded with a title run in Adelaide- her first title on Australian soil. Barty then reached successive semi-finals at the Australian Open and Dubai, and sits comfortably in third position in the WTA’s Race to Shenzhen.
Unlike some of her colleagues who previously held the No. 1 position, Barty has looked very comfortable at the summit of the WTA, and has displayed the maturity and consistency of performance that suggests she will be there for a very long time. With her vaunted variety and ability to adapt to different surfaces, Barty looks set to have another great year, and will be very dangerous at the Finals in Shenzhen.
Can Simona Halep finally win her maiden WTA Finals title?
Simona Halep contested the championship match in her debut appearance at the WTA Finals in 2014 (lost to Serena Williams), but she is yet to go past the round robin phase in four attempts since then (2015-2017; 2019). She missed the 2018 edition due to a back injury. One would have thought that the slow hard courts of Singapore and Shenzhen would benefit her counterpunching style, but the Romanian hasn’t been able to make an impact in the tournament since that runner-up finish in 2014.
Perhaps a reason for that is fatigue at the end of the season- the supremely consistent Romanian has played at least 60 tour-level matches in six of the last seven seasons and has finished inside the top five in each of the last six years. Despite her struggles at the season-ending Finals, she was year-end No. 1 in 2017 and 2018.
Halep has again been on the move in 2020, winning Dubai, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open and the quarter finals in Adelaide. The Wimbledon champion is currently fourth on the Race, and is well on course to feature at the WTA Finals for the for the sixth time in her career. If she can stay fit and remain fresh (the current break should help with that!), she has obviously got the ability to go really deep and possibly claim her maiden title at the tournament.
There are no guarantees that Serena Williams will qualify for the WTA Finals, let alone participate at the tournament, but if there’s any chance that Serena will play in any WTA draw, then she’s got to be somewhere amongst the title favourites.
The legendary American has not featured at the season finale since claiming her fifth title at the event in 2014. Williams is currently 24th on the Race to Shenzhen, and may not be able to gather enough points to qualify anyway, given the reduced schedule she plays these days, but with the rankings frozen until June, she won’t be too far away from the qualifying spots when the season eventually restarts. More than anyone else, Serena retains the ability to put a strong run together.
She got off to a flying start in 2020, winning the Auckland title- her first as a mother- but she endured great disappointment at the Australian Open as her quest for that record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title ended with a shock third round loss to Qiang Wang. Never one to give up on a goal, Williams will be super-motivated to go when the season restarts, and is still very much in the running for a spot in Shenzhen. If she gets there, we know how devastating she can be.
Svitolina to continue fine Finals form?
Elina Svitolina has reached the finals of the WTA Finals in each of the last two years, winning in 2018 and losing to Barty in 2019- can the Ukrainian make it a hat-trick of finals in 2020? Svitolina clearly enjoys the conditions in Shenzhen and if she manages to get through again, she will again be amongst the title favourites.
Following her title run in 2018, she went a very long time before adding another trophy to her WTA collection, but she ended that lengthy drought in February, when she won the Monterrey title. She’s got work to do if she’s to qualify for the Finals for a fourth straight season as she’s currently 21st in the Race.
Another first time champion?
As mentioned earlier, the last five years have produced five first time champions, and there are a host of candidates looking to keep that trend going in 2020.
Top of the list is Sofia Kenin, who currently leads the Race to Shenzhen after winning the Australian Open and Lyon titles this year. Kenin had a feel of the WTA Finals last season when she stepped in as an alternate for just one match against Svitolina (she lost 7-5 7-6), but she will aim to qualify by right this time.
Following Kenin on the Shenzhen standings is Garbine Muguruza, who is enjoying a resurgent campaign. Now coached by Conchita Martinez, the Spaniard has put together a fine season, reaching at least the quarter finals in all five tournaments she’s played. She was a finalist at the Australian Open (lost to Kenin), and a semi-finalist at the Shenzhen Open in January. Muguruza is looking to qualify for the season-ending Finals for the fourth time and the first time since 2017.
Karolina Pliskova has made the semi-finals in each of the last three years- is this the season when she finally goes all the way? How about Elena Rybakina? Can she maintain her blistering start to the season through the course of the season? Aryna Sabalenka, Kiki Bertens and former champion, Petra Kvitova, all of whom are placed inside the top eight in the Race are also very capable of putting a strong week together if they do get to Shenzhen.
Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic… the list goes on and on!
As has been the case for some seasons now, it’s an extremely open WTA field, and anyone who eventually gets in will feel she is in with a shot of winning the title.
WTA Finals 2020 tournament information
Name: Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen
Location: Shenzhen, China
Venue: Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre
Category: WTA Finals
Surface: Indoor Hard Courts
Draw size: 8 Singles/ 8 Doubles
Martina Navratilova (8)
Singles – Ashleigh Barty
Doubles – Kristina Mladenovic/ Timea Babos
WTA Finals betting tips
Check back for the best WTA Finals betting tips when odds are released closer to the tournament, where play begins on Monday 1 November 2020.