WTA Elite Trophy: Group A Preview

WTA Elite Trophy: Group A Preview

Group A gives us a taste of not just power from Venus Williams and Madison Keys, but speed and wit as well from Saisai Zheng.

Noel John Alberto

The battle for the WTA Elite Trophy begins tomorrow in Zhuhai. 12 women battle in the inaugural WTA Elite Trophy tournament. The 12 women are placed into four groups of three with the winners of each group advancing to the semifinals. In this piece, we preview Group A. Group A consists of Venus Williams, Madison Keys, and wildcard Saisai Zheng.

Playing Styles

The two big names in the group are Venus and Keys. The two American possess powerful serves and groundstrokes while the Chinese woman offers a bit of variety compared to the other two. Zheng plays with wit, speed, and anticipation, which is similar to Agnieszka Radwanska. However, she does possess something which Radwanska does not, a heavy spinning forehand, which has some people comparing her to Sam Stosur. So she’s a hybrid of a former US Open champion and this year’s WTA champion, not bad comparisons for someone who could be China’s next star.

Highlights For Each Player

At the age of 35, Venus WIlliams is still trucking along amazingly. She has not slowed down despite the Sjogren's Syndrome diagnosis. The American number two, only behind her younger sister Serena, has brought home two titles this year, Auckland and Wuhan. She also has two Grand Slam quarterfinals under her belt this year on the hard court Slams at the Australian Open and US Open. She was also the first alternate at the WTA Finals.

Keys does not have a single WTA title to her name this year, but this year was her official coming out party. The 20-year-old stormed her way to the Australian Open semifinals, upsetting Casey Dellacqua, Petra Kvitova, and Venus Williams en route to that. She made her lone final of the year in Charleston but her quarterfinal run at Wimbledon proved she is a threat for all surfaces.

Like Keys, Zheng has no titles this year. However, that has not stopped her from picking up some victories along the way. She opened up her season with a semifinal showing in Shenzhen. She captured her first title at a Challenger in Gifu and won a second consecutive Challenger the following week at Anning. Zheng won her first WTA event at Dalian in China where she defeated Julia Glushko for the title.

There’s not much between the women in the head-to-head with both Americans 1-1 against each other and neither of them have faced Zheng.


Despite Zheng being a home crowd favorite, she will find it difficult to overcome the power of Keys and Venus. This group will come down to between the two Americans and which one can keep their power under control in the pressure moments. At Australia, it was Keys who got the better of Venus, but it was the other way around at Flushing Meadows. The veteran will find a way to knock off Keys, the apparent heir to the American women’s tennis throne, but that wait to the top will have to wait a bit longer for Keys.

Group winner: Venus Williams