This year's surprise pack in the WTA has to be the one and only Caroline Garcia. The Frenchwoman had a late resurge in form winning two titles and pipping Brit Johanna Konta to that final Singapore spot.
The 23-year-old has risen from a top 30 player at number 24 to world number nine in the world rankings as well as a maiden quarterfinalist at Roland Garros. Garcia has played at the WTA Zhuhai event in the past but will relish the chance to go toe-to-toe with some of the best women of the year.
When Garcia announced her intentions to not play Fed Cup in the off-season for the upcoming 2017 season, many were wondering if that was the correct call.
The Frenchwoman initially had a tough start to her campaign, struggling as she made round three at the Australian Open, second round in Taiwan, Qatar, and Dubai before an opening round loss to Anna Kalinskaya in Kuala Lumpur. Garcia also struggled at the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open before changing her fortunes as the Clay season began in the beginning of summer.
At the French Open, the world number nine reached her first ever second-week appearance before falling to number two Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinal stage. Her good form continued after the French, going on to also reach a career-best performance at Wimbledon, losing to Konta in round four with semifinal showings in Mallorca and Bastad before going on to make the quarterfinal at the Rogers Cup and Pan-Pacific Open.
Garcia then went on to capture the Premier five tournament, Wuhan Open, the biggest singles title of her career to that date and also of any French female player since Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon in 2013 and the first Frenchwoman to win a Premier title since Aravane Rezai who won Madrid. Garcia also managed to register her first win over a top ten player in defeating number seven ranked Dominika Cibulkova.
After receiving a bye at the China Open, Garcia defeated Elise Mertens and compatriot Alize Cornet to reach the quarterfinals. In her semifinal match, she saved a match point to defeat Elina Svitolina and then Petra Kvitova to reach the final where she crowned her second top ten wins of her career and season in newly crowned world number one Simona Halep.
With all the big hitters in one group, Garcia will face Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, and Caroline Wozniacki in the other group, the Red group in her debut appearance, as mentioned previously.
Garcia has a losing record with two of the three players in the group whilst having a locked head-to-head with one of the players (though that will change). Despite not having a positive record against either of the three, her latest matches with one another has seen her come out on top but her last meeting with the Dane was back in 2015 and has failed to defeat the former world number one. Garcia defeated Halep in the Wuhan final just a few weeks back and Svitolina in Beijing en route to her first of two titles.