Serena Williams missed out on a place in the draw by finishing No. 9, one spot out of the eight-player field in this year's Race to Shenzhen. Williams was the last American to win the WTA Finals, which she did for three consecutive years starting in 2012. She won the title a total of five times in her career with her first victory coming in 2001.
Last year, American Sloane Stephens was the runner-up to defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. This year, Stephens was out of contention at No. 23.
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