Elina Svitolina celebrates WTA Finals win. Picture: AFP
Elina Svitolina celebrates WTA Finals win. Picture: AFP

WTA queen commits to Brisbane International

She finished 2018 by beating five top-eight players to win the fifth biggest title on the WTA Tour.

And world No.4 Elina Svitolina will start her new season at the Brisbane International, which has as many as seven top-10 women.

Svitolina is the highest-ranked woman among four top-10 WTA players to be so far confirmed for the Brisbane International, which will reveals its full female and male fields today.

Svitolina, a winner of four titles including the year-end WTA Championships last month, joins US Open champion Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova as female headliners so far for the Brisbane tournament, which starts on December 31.

Tournament organisers were tight-lipped last night about the tournament entry, which a tennis website this week claimed extends to three more top-10 women.

Former Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova, ranked eighth, No.9 Kiki Bertens and No.10 Daria Kasatkina were reported to have decided to play Brisbane.

The 2018 tournament won by Svitolina had five top-10 women.

Crowd-pleasing Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will end a 10-year absence from the Queensland Tennis Centre when he steps up his comeback from knee surgery by starting his year in Brisbane.

WTA world No.1 Simona Halep is reported to be starting her campaign in Sydney in week two, with second-ranked Angelique Kerber playing the Hopman Cup and third-ranked Caroline Wozniacki opting for Auckland.

 

US Open winner Naomi Osaka. Picture: Getty
US Open winner Naomi Osaka. Picture: Getty

 

Svitolina's 2018 campaign netted her $US5.7million in prizemoney and her four titles for the year was bettered only by Kvitova (five).

Svitolina's talent and WTA Tour consistency makes it hard to comprehend why she has made it no further than the quarter-finals in the 12 Grand Slam events she has played since breaking into the top 20 in 2015.

The 24-year-old Ukrainian lost as the fifth seed at Wimbledon in the first round to German Tatjana Maria, ranked No.57, and in her Australian and US Open losses she dropped a deciding set to love.

But she came from a set down to beat Stephens to claim the WTA Championships final for the biggest title of her career.

"I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone,'' a defiant Svitolina said after her Singapore success.

Tsonga, the 2009 Australian Open finalist, was in the ATP year-end top-20 for 10 consecutive years from 2008 before knee surgery required a seven-month recovery period this year.

The Frenchman, ranked No.259, will get an injury-protected entry and add further star quality to the Brisbane men's field.

It so far is headed by world No.2 Rafael Nadal, former world No.1 Andy Murray, ninth-ranked Kei Nishikori, 2017 Brisbane champion Grigor Dimitrov and the top three Australian men, Alex de Minaur, John Millman and Nick Kyrgios.

Tsonga, 33, has not played in Brisbane since the inaugural QTC tournament in 2009.

The flamboyant right-hander had surgery in April, when his ranking was No.19, and managed only four tournaments since his return after having to bypass a third Grand Slam event for the year, the US Open, in September.



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