Agnieszka Radwanska beat Chinese wild card Wang Qiang in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the China Open on 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. “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-biting tiebreak. Jankovic won the Hong Kong Open in 2015. Caroline Wozniacki faced a three-set battle against Coco Vandeweghe to reach the second round, just a week after the former world number one won her first title since February 2015 in Tokyo. The Dane was sidelined by injury for much of this year but made a strong late-season comeback, reaching the US Open semi-finals in September and the round of 16 in the Wuhan Open to signal her return to form.