Suarez Navarro hoping for Beijing to be Singapore springboard

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Carla Suarez Navarro knows a strong showing at the China Open will give her a great chance of reaching her first WTA Tour Finals.

The Spaniard occupies the eighth and last qualification berth for October's showpiece tournament in Singapore.

With 1000 points on offer at the WTA Premier event in Beijing, beginning on Saturday, the Spaniard cannot wait to get started as she looks to cap a career-best year which saw her climb as high as sixth in the rankings.

Five places at the WTA Finals are still up for grabs, and Suarez Navarro is under no illusions of how crucial the China Open will prove in the final reckoning.

"The China Open is really important. We have a lot of points here. It's one of the most important tournaments of the year," she said.

"It's almost the end of the season and I want to have a good time here. I want to be focused on my game and try to play a good game. Every game will be tough for sure because everyone wants to be in the final round, but I have some practice here.

"I feel good and I'm looking forward to this tournament. I have really improved my game in my serve and I've tried to play a little more aggressive. That's what I need to do to beat my opponents.

"Every time [Dominika] Cibulkova and I play, we have tough matches. She's a very good player and is also fighting to be in Singapore. I'll try to get to that round [potential third round against Cibulkova] and we'll see what happens."

Cibulkova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and two-time winner Svetlana Kuznetsova all receive a bye to the second round as a result of reaching the last four of the Wuhan Open.

Reigning champion and second seed Garbine Muguruza begins her defence against Irina-Camelia Begu, while top seed and world number one Angelique Kerber will meet a qualifier.

Meanwhile, there is a potential third-round clash between two former champions and world number ones in Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska, who could meet for the third time in as many weeks.