Venus eyes last chance at cracking top 10, WTA Finals

HONG KONG — Venus Williams will enter the last-chance saloon at the Hong Kong Open starting Monday as she eyes a berth in the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore and a top-10 spot for the first time since 2011.

For seven-time Grand Slam winner Williams, 35, the event represents her final chance to break into the top nine and thereby qualify for Singapore.

The singles draw at the Singapore tournament showcases the top eight in the world, but Williams’ sister and world No. 1 Serena Williams is sitting out the remainder of the year, meaning No. 9 will be enough to qualify.

”This is it,” Venus said. ”This is my last tournament before the season-ending championship and my last chance to do well. Hopefully I can enter the top seven or eight (in the world). It is not going to be easy as there is a strong field in Hong Kong."

The resurgent Williams lies in 14th place, 48 points adrift of the two players holding the numbers 9 and 10 rankings: Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic and German Angelique Kerber, who is also appearing in Hong Kong.

Williams missed out on valuable points when she was eliminated in the second round of the China Open by Ana Ivanovic, but prior to that she won the Wuhan Open.

The evergreen Williams won her 700th career singles match on her way to winning the Wuhan event for her 47th WTA singles title.

"I don’t know if this is a comeback or a come-up. I just want to win matches and tournaments,” she said.

Apart from Kerber, another top-10 player, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza (No.5), is also features in the competitive Hong Kong field along with former world number one, Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Grand Slam tournament winners Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur.