Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

It’s all on the line as the WTA Tour season concludes in Cancun where the top eight singles players and doubles teams of the season go head to head to crown the best of the best.

The group stage begins on Sunday October 29 until Sunday November 5 as Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek battle it out for world No 1.

Qualification is determined by points accrued throughout the calendar year, rather than the traditional rankings which are done across a 12-month period.

The eight singles players are drawn into two groups and face each other in a round-robin format. The top two players in each group advance to the semi-finals and the singles champion wins the WTA Finals Billie Jean King Trophy.

Who is playing?

Singles Field

1. Aryna Sabalenka

Won her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.
Reached world No 1 in singles for the first time on September 11 and has held the top spot since.
Captured a total of three titles and made three other finals this year.
First woman to reach the semi-finals or better at all four Grand Slam events in a calendar year since Serena Williams in 2016.

2. Iga Swiatek

Leads the WTA Tour this season in titles won (5) and matches won (63).
Captured fourth Grand Slam title at the French Open – first woman to defend the Roland Garros title since Justine Henin in 2007.
Claimed sixth WTA 1000 title of career in Beijing and made WTA 1000 finals in Dubai and Madrid.

3. Coco Gauff

Won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
Sealed four singles titles in 2023, including her first WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati and her first WTA 500 title in Washington.
Comes into the WTA Finals with 22 wins in her last 24 matches, which included a season-best 16-match winning streak.

4. Elena Rybakina

Captured the first two WTA 1000 titles of her career at Indian Wells and Rome, and also made the WTA 1000 Miami final.
Won 27 matches at WTA 1000 events this season – tied with Iga Swiatek for the most on tour in 2023.
Went 4-0 against current world No 1 players this year and defeated Swiatek three times when she was ranked No 1. She also recorded a win over new No 1 Sabalenka in Beijing.

5. Jessica Pegula

Won two titles in a single season for the first time, at WTA 1000 Montreal and WTA 250 Seoul.
Reached two WTA 500 finals at Doha and Tokyo.
Claimed WTA doubles world No 1 ranking for the first time and also qualified for the WTA Finals in doubles as the No 1 team with Coco Gauff.

6. Ons Jabeur

As well as finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the Tunisian won the WTA 250 Ningbo Open and WTA 500 Charleston this year.

7. Marketa Vondrousova

Vondrousova, a runner-up at the French Open in 2019, won her maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
She also made three other WTA quarter-finals this year, including at the US Open.

8. Maria Sakkari

Sakkari has reached two WTA Tour finals this season, winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open and also contested the title match at the WTA 500 Mubadala and Washington.

The line-up features all four of the Grand Slam winners in 2023 with Australian Open champion Sabalenka, French Open winner Swiatek, Wimbledon champion Vondrousova and US Open winner Gauff, while Rybakina and Vondrousova will be making their debuts at the WTA Finals.

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A look back at 19-year-old Coco Gauff’s first Grand Slam win at the US Open

Karolina Muchova withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury, so, as the first alternate, Maria Sakkari, who won the 2022 WTA Finals, moved into the field.

What are the permutations with No 1 on the line?

Image:
Swiatek and Sabalenka will battle it out for world No 1

The winner of the WTA Finals will get 1,500 ranking points and $3,024,000 million by going undefeated to win the singles title.

Sabalenka may have ended Swiatek’s 75-week streak as world No 1 after the US Open, but her advantage at the top has been cut to just 590 points following the Pole’s victory at the recent China Open.

A player will earn 125 points per match played, plus 125 points per round-robin win, 330 points for a semi-final win and 420 points for winning the final.

Belarusian star Sabalenka will be defending 955 points in Cancun after reaching the final last year, while Swiatek will be defending 750 points after she lost in the semi-finals in 2022.

Swiatek has been preparing for the event back home in Poland before travelling to Mexico.

“Maybe it’s not like the best scenario because then the pre-season is a little bit shorter, but for sure, I’m going to take all the positive sides from it,” the 22-year-old said.

Key stats ahead of the WTA Finals

Sabalenka could become the third player in the last 10 years to reach back-to-back finals at WTA finals singles matches, joining Elina Svitolina and Serena Williams.

Swiatek could become the first player since Williams to win more than 130 matches in a two-year span – Williams did so in the 2012-13 seasons when she won 136 matches in total.

US Open champion Gauff could become the youngest winner in nearly 20 years as well as the youngest finalist since Maria Sharapovova, who won in 2004 at the age of 17 – Gauff will be 19 at the time of the tournament.

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Tim Henman analyses Gauff’s sensational US Open victory and assesses the impact she can have on the sport

Doubles Field
1. Coco Gauff & Jessica Pegula
2. Storm Hunter & Elise Mertens
3. Shuko Aoyama & Ena Shibahara
4. Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova
5. Desirae Krawczyk & Demi Schuurs
6. Laura Siegemund & Vera Zvonareva
7. Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe
8. Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez

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The post WTA Finals: Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff & Elena Rybakina all vying for glory in Mexico appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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