Anastasija Sevastova qualifies for WTA Elite Trophy
Anastasija Sevastova, the defending semifinalist, will look to replicate her success this year | Edit: Don Han

Anastasija Sevastova qualifies for WTA Elite Trophy

Anastasija Sevastova was just an inch away from a top-10 debut but she is still rewarded with a spot at the WTA Elite Trophy.

don-han
Don Han

Anastasija Sevastova experienced yet another successful year as the Latvian reached even greater heights in her career — labelling herself as the top-ranked Latvian on tour after surpassing compatriot Jelena Ostapenko in the year-end rankings. Her reward is a place at the WTA Elite Trophy, where she is drawn into a tough group consisting of Zhang Shuai and Garbine Muguruza.

Terrific 2018 for Sevastova

It was the perfect start to 2018 for Sevastova as a solid run to the semifinals at the Brisbane International provided her with the confidence early in the year. However, she was unable to capitalize on her opportunities in her next tournaments which caused her ranking to be rather stagnant.

Anastasija Sevastova reached the semifinals in her first tournament of 2018 | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac
Anastasija Sevastova reached the semifinals in her first tournament of 2018 | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac

Sevastova finally found some form, though surprisingly her next semifinal came on clay. She stormed to the last four at the Volvo Car Open, before sending Latvia into the World Group II of Fed Cup with a historic win over Russia.

Sevastova reached finals on all three surfaces this year — and her first came at the Mallorca Open on grass. Defeating former top-5 stars Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur to reach the final, she was shocked by Tatjana Maria in the final but rebounded on clay at the Bucharest Open, strolling to the title despite being 0-3 down in the final set of her first-round encounter.

Consecutive quarterfinal appearances followed at the Moscow River Cup and Rogers Cup but no one definitely expected her to cause a wave at the US Open. She ousted Ekaterina Makarova in three sets before stunning both seventh-ranked Elina Svitolina and defending champion Sloane Stephens to make her maiden Slam semifinal.

There, she faltered against Serena Williams but her unbelievable run continued in Beijing where she made the final. Defeating US Open champion and title favourite Naomi Osaka, Sevastova looked in top form throughout the week but fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the championship match.

Anastasija Sevastova during the biggest match of her career at the US Open | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
Anastasija Sevastova during the biggest match of her career at the US Open | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America

At the brink of a top-10 debut, Sevastova narrowly missed it by an inch, falling to qualifier Ons Jabeur in the semifinals of the Kremlin Cup. She enters Zhuhai hoping that a deep run could help her snatch the number 10 spot from Daria Kasatkina in the year-end rankings.

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