Beijing: Agnieszka Radwanska beat Chinese wildcard Wang Qiang in straight sets in the first round of the China Open Sunday, leaving her just two wins away from clinching a place in the elite season finale.
The Pole needs to reach the quarter finals in Beijing to guarantee her sixth consecutive appearance at the eight-player WTA Final in Singapore.
She scooped the year-end crown last year, having qualified for the event just a week before when she bagged her second title of the season in Tianjin.
"I had the situation last year when I had to win the Tianjin Open to qualify for Singapore, and I did it," said the current world number four, speaking to reporters in Beijing.
"Of course, it was last-minute qualifying. I will try everything to qualify a bit before that this year."
Eighth ranked Carla Suarez Navarro crashed out in the first round of the China Open, putting her qualification for the year-ending tournament in doubt.
But the Spaniard`s defeat to Yaroslava Shvedova, currently ranked at 41, opens the door to players just behind her in the so-called "Race to Singapore" -- Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
A first-time qualification is also in sight for both Briton Johanna Konta and American big hitter Madison Keys, who both won their first-round matches.
Meanwhile, Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic battled past former world number one Jelena Jankovic to secure her second-round spot in a nail-bitting tie break.