MOSCOW (AP): Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina secured the last two places at the season-ending WTA Finals despite neither winning a match on Wednesday.
The fifth-ranked Pliskova lost to Russian veteran Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2 at the Kremlin Cup, giving the idle Svitolina a spot in the tournament in Singapore. Kiki Bertens then lost to Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 a short time later, handing Pliskova the final spot.
Bertens, however, could still make it if top-ranked Simona Halep skips the tournament with a back injury. Halep withdrew from the Kremlin Cup because of the injury.
Also, Sloane Stephens was eliminated in her opening Kremlin Cup match by Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-2. The third-seeded American, who had a first-round bye, lost her opening service games in each set.
Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, secured qualification for the WTA Finals last week after a strong season which included reaching the French Open final.
Jabeur will next face Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals. The eighth-seeded Estonian beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 7-6 (3).
The 34-year-old Zvonareva, a former Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist, will next play Anastasija Sevastova. The Latvian beat Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
In the men’s draw, third-seeded Karen Khachanov defeated Lukas Rosol 6-4, 7-5, and Ricardas Berankis beat Aljaz Bedene 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) to reach the quarterfinals.