Keys secures place in first WTA Finals

October 17, 2016 09:15 AM

By Ashley Marsahll,

Madison Keys has added one more thing to her season of firsts: a spot in her maiden WTA Finals.

Keys became the seventh woman to qualify for the eight-woman BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore on the strength of a strong post-US Open campaign which saw her reach the quarterfinals in Wuhan, China, and the semifinals in Beijing. She backed that up last week with a run to the semis of an indoor event in Linz, Austria, consolidating her spot among the game’s elite.

"I couldn't be more excited to qualify for my first WTA Finals," Keys told "I've worked harder than ever this year both on and off the court and I am happy that the hard work is paying off. I look forward to finishing my season strong in Singapore."

Qualifying for the WTA Finals headlines a fine year for the 21-year-old Rock Island, Ill., native. She broke into the Top 10 in June following her first title of the year at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham, England, and she reached the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in May and the Rogers Cup in Montreal in July.

She capped her summer by reaching the semifinals and narrowly missing out on a bronze medal in Rio in her Olympics debut and advancing to the fourth round of the US Open in New York. She is one of only four players to reach the round of 16 at all four majors this season.

Keys is currently ranked a career-high No. 7 and is the first American woman to enter the Top 10 since Serena Williams first did so in 1999.

In the WTA Finals, Keys joins world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza and fellow first-time finalist Dominika Cibulkova.

Top-ranked American and current world No. 2 Serena Williams qualified for Singapore earlier in the summer, but she pulled out of the year-end event on Sunday, citing a shoulder injury. Her withdrawal means one spot is still up for grabs. Britain’s Johanna Konta currently holds the final qualifying spot, but Carla Suarez Navarro and Svetlana Kuznetsova could leapfrog Konta if they win the title in Moscow.

The WTA Finals take place Oct. 23-30.