Injury halts Konta’s quest for WTA Finals – Three thoughts

By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta withdraws from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a foot injury, and for the second year in a row just misses out on the WTA Finals in Singapore
  • Johanna Konta’s withdrawal hands the eighth and final qualification spot to Caroline Garcia
  • Konta has qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai and could still play in Singapore if she travels there as an alternate
LONDON, UK – Injury has put an end to Johanna Konta’s hopes of making the WTA Finals in Singapore.

 

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Johanna Konta saw her chance of a spot in the WTA Finals in Singapore disappear for a second year in a row as a foot injury saw her withdraw from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

It was going to come down to the wire, with the final berth for Singapore to be decided in the final week of the season, but a foot injury that caused Johanna Konta to pull out of the Prudential Open in Hong Kong, has ruled her out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Despite her rival Caroline Garcia being in that final position, the Frenchwoman had not automatically qualified and on paper at least Konta could have leapfrogged her by reaching the final in Moscow. The situation took a further twist when Garcia was refused a wild-card into Moscow.

With just 185 points separating the pair Garcia, who won back to back tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing, can now travel to Singapore without potentially scrambling about for a wildcard in Luxembourg – the WTA International event running next week.

 

Second time around for Konta

Of course this is not the first time the Brit has been within touching distance of the WTA Finals – last year, she was in the midst of the media obligations and player photo-shoots while her then closest rival Svetlana Kuznetsova pipped her to the post by defending her Kremlin Cup title.

She continued her obligations as the first alternate in Singapore before flying on to Zhuhai for the WTA Elite trophy, and Kuznetsova went on to reach the semi-finals.

While we are on the subject of Zhuhai

Held the week after Singapore, and confusingly titled the WTA Elite Trophy, Konta was the top seed and finished up her season in the semi-final. With the additional time to recover from the foot injury that has halted her WTA Finals bid, she would find herself in the top spot again, should she play.

 

The story of Konta’s season

The year could not have started any better for the Brit who would argue that honestly her ‘breakout’ season of 2016 was actually the culmination of many years of hard work and progression.

Under the tutelage of new coach Wim Fissette, she won the Sydney title, and reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne, before winning Miami and pitching herself firmly into the Porsche Race to Singapore.

Her run to the Wimbledon semi-final seemed to rubber-stamp her remarkable progress – but then from there things have gone somewhat awry.

Since Wimbledon she has picked up just two wins in Cincinnati, and has exited in the first rounds of Toronto, the US Open (where she has reached the fourth round twice in a row), before a miserable Asian swing that saw her lose in Tokyo, Wuhan and Beijing in her opening round.

What has become clear is her confidence really seems to be shot. She has often jumped out to a lead, but as soon as that has been challenged, she has seemingly been found wanting in her ability to figure things out on the court.

She does of course still have a chance to go out on a high, against some top qualify players in the Zhuhai field including US Open finalist and champion Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens, and former World No. 1 and two-time Slam champion last year Angelique Kerber.

Either way, it is a second year of almost, but not quite for the determined Brit who will need to regather in the off-season to defend her successes in the early part of the year.

The WTA Finals takes place between 22-29 October, and the WTA Elite Trophy takes place between 31 October – 5 November.

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