The star pairing of Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-jan has successfully qualified for the year-ending WTA Finals held in Singapore with their stellar results this year. A new pairing made up of two very accomplished doubles players, Hingis and Chan proved that their decision to pair up this year was definitely correct.
Chan and Hingis paired up to win an incredible six titles throughout the year, with the Asian Swing to come and despite missing out on all the Australian tournaments at the start of the year. The Taiwanese originally partnered her sister Chan Hao-ching but after three successive first-round exits Down Under, they made the decision to split up to “do better than what they have done” and to “improve their games”. Meanwhile, Hingis was without a long-term partner after splitting up from Sania Mirza, having played with Coco Vandeweghe, who was generally focused towards her singles game.
They joined forces at the Qatar Total Open but after a couple of disappointing results, they won their first title at a big tournament. A really big one, at the BNP Paribas Open, beating Mirza/Strycova and Mattek-Sands/Safarova along the way. Their second title came at another Premier Mandatory event, excelling on the clay courts of the Mutua Madrid Open. It was two consecutive titles for the Taiwanese-Swiss pair as they defeated Makarova/Vesnina in the final.
Chan and Hingis then had some impressive results on grass courts as they triumphed in Mallorca and Eastbourne, going on an eight-match winning streak. However, they suffered from an early exit at Wimbledon as their pursuit of a first Grand Slam title continued. Going into the US Open, Chan and Hingis won the title in Cincinnati where they defeated the Olympics Bronze Medalists Safarova/Strycova in the process.
They are now currently competing at the US Open, where they reached their third Grand Slam quarterfinal in as many appearances.
Reaction to their qualification
Both players have already qualified for the WTA Finals in the past, but this year they will return as partners instead of opponents. Ironically, it was Hingis who sent Chan out of the competition in the quarterfinals last year.
Hingis has enjoyed playing with Chan, “It's nice to be back and qualify for Singapore and I'm just really enjoying this partnership and really enjoying our next challenges.”
They were also excited to return to the Lion City, “Well I'm very excited to return to Singapore again because I'm Asian! The finals mean a lot to all the girls on the tour. To qualify with my new partner, I'm very excited about it. Of course, we'll try to win as much as we can. Every girl is aiming for the trophy. So we'll have to put extra energy and focus on the ball and reach the goals that we want.” Chan would be going her first ever WTA Finals title while Hingis is a former three-time champion.
Hingis added, “It's the cherry on top of the cake that you get to go to Singapore. It's a long season. You look for that little bit of motivation at the end of the year. Already being there you feel like you really deserve it. The city is beautiful and the tournament is definitely above many others. It's the goal next to the Grand Slams to go to Singapore and if you get home with the trophy, even better!” Arguably, the WTA Finals is the fifth most important tournament on the women’s tour, with only the best of the best being able to participate in such a prestigious tournament.
Chan and Hingis are currently projected to be the top seeds for this event as they are now the number ones on the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard. The second-ranked pair Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina has also successfully qualified and would be making their fifth consecutive appearance, bar a withdrawal in 2015.