A career-best season for Donna Vekic allowed her to reach new heights and break new grounds in her career, qualifying for the WTA Elite Trophy for the first time in her career. Making her top-20 debut in the rankings on next Monday, the Croatian reached seven quarterfinals in what was a very impressive year.
The 23-year-old started the year in some fashion, reaching the semifinals in Brisbane as an unseeded player before stunning Australian Open finalist Kvitova en route to a runner-up finish at the St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy. Falling short at the Nature Valley International as well, Vekic would count herself unlucky not to win a title this year.
A maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance awaited Vekic at the US Open, and she has shown her maturity and growth as compared to her 17-year-old self who broke out into the international scene at a young age. A Zhuhai spot now awaits the Croatian, which she completely deserves and will look to make full use of.
Other qualified players include Madison Keys, Aryna Sabalenka, Petra Martic, Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske and Elise Mertens. Players who withdrew from the event included Johanna Konta, who is nursing a knee injury since the US Open, Angelique Kerber, who announced that she will end her season after withdrawing from Luxembourg, and Marketa Vondrousova, who is currently recovering from a wrist surgery.