After losing the battle for the last Shenzhen spot in Moscow to Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens took to Instagram to announce and confirm that she will compete at the WTA Elite Trophy amidst her disappointment. The Dutch is returning to Zhuhai for the second time in her career, having lost in the round-robin stage in 2016.
It was yet another solid season for Bertens although she lost steam mid-way after the grass-court season, but was in pole position to qualify for the WTA Finals as she was ahead of Bencic throughout the entire season, but was overtaken at the eleventh hour. Bertens would rue her missed chances, especially at the China Open where she missed a match point against nemesis Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals. Had she taken that match point, the ticket to Shenzhen would have been booked ages ago.
Bertens struggled at the Majors this year after being met with several tough draws, but she had a fantastic start to the year with an indoor title at the St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy before proceeding to dominate the clay-court season as expected.
She reached the semifinals in Stuttgart before ousting three consecutive top-10 players to lift her biggest career title in Madrid, and exited in the last four at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia, falling to Konta in a match which would have seen her rise to world number two had she won.
Illness struck the Dutch at Roland Garros, where she was the overwhelming title favourite. She missed five match points against Riske in the final of her home tournament, the Rosmalen Grass Court Tennis Championships and was stunned by Teichmann in the Palermo Ladies’ Open final as well.
From there, her season went downhill as she failed to reproduce her high-quality performances through the remainder of the year, with the exception of the China Open where she seemed to have regained the fire in her game. Despite it not being enough to seal a spot in the Shenzhen, it was enough to book a spot at the WTA Elite Trophy, where she will be the top seed and is assured to end the year within the top-10.