The race for the 2023 WTA Finals is over after the final three singles entrants sealed their spots at the season-ending finale.
The world's Top 5 had booked their flights to Cancun, Mexico, home for this year's WTA Finals. And ahead of the China Open, as many as six players were in contention to qualify. But with a couple of more rounds to go in Beijing, the situation became clear and conclusive for the aspirants.
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova and fellow Czech Karolina Muchova will be making their debuts at the season finale in Cancun, while Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur has qualified for a second consecutive year.
Maria Sakkari who sat in ninth place, will miss out on a return to her 'second home' after winning a maiden WTA 1000 in Guadalajara, in western Mexico. The Greek player needed at least a semifinal finish in Beijing to keep her chances alive.
But defeat to World No. 3 Coco Gauff in the China Open quarterfinals extinguished her hopes. Sakkari will travel to Cancun, but will only compete if one of the players in the eight-woman tournament withdraws or as an alternate.
Vondrousova, Jabeur, and Muchova are set to appear at the WTA 500 event in Zhengzhou next week, and will now head there with some sort of respite and relief. Czech lefty Vondrousova has enjoyed a resurgent year on the women's Tour.
12 months ago, Vondrousova was competing at a W100 ITF tournament in Shrewsbury, England. But she'll be playing at the most prestigious tennis tournament outside the Grand Slams this time. A career-best season yielded a maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July and consequently broke the world's Top 10 for the first time.
Jabeur was the unlucky finalist for the second year in a row at the All-England Club. But the Tunisian can reflect on another terrific year on the WTA Tour in which she added two more crowns to her trophy cabinet including a first hard-court title in Ningbo.
Muchova, meanwhile, fulfilled her teenage promise this year, reaching her first Grand Slam final at the French Open. The crafty 27-year-old came within a couple of games from dethroning Iga Swiatek in the final. Nevertheless, her runner-up finish has aided her cause.