Konta’s finals place is slipping away
Johanna Konta is likely to miss out narrowly on participating in the WTA Finals for the third time in four years, after she withdrew from the China Open in Beijing.
Konta cited “slight knee pain” as her reason for skipping the Premier Mandatory event that starts on Sept 30. She has declined to enter Wuhan, which begins next Monday, so she will swerve the whole Asian swing.
It is not impossible that Konta could still edge in among the top eight players in time for the WTA Finals – which start in Shenzhen on Oct 27 – and thus become the first Briton to participate since Virginia Wade in 1980. She is currently ranked No11.
Konta would probably need to enter two more events in Europe at the very end of the season, and hope a couple of the players ahead of her opt not to take up their places. Serena Williams must be considered a doubt, as she will not play before Shenzhen.
Konta was on the edge of qualification for the old WTA Finals venue of Singapore in both 2016 and 2017, only to be edged out by a pair of late runs.
Meanwhile, British No 2 Dan Evans will be heading to Chengdu in time for next week’s tournament with a new coach. Having dispensed with David Felgate, who runs the Junior Tennis Coaching operation at Chiswick Riverside, Evans has turned to another member of the JTC staff in Colin Beecher. For the moment, the arrangement is only understood to have been set up for the Asian swing.
Katie Boulter, the Fed Cup hero whose season was ruined by a spinal stress fracture, is close to full fitness.