After a season filled with absorbing storylines , the top players on tour will converge at the WTA Finals this week with the year-end No. 1 ranking and $9 million in prize money at stake. A different player has won each grand slam this year and, reflecting the lack of a completely dominant player on tour, there isn’t an outright favorite for the WTA Finals. Rather, there is a set of intriguing questions that surrounds each player: Can Aryna Sabalenka seal her place as arguably this year’s best player? Can Iga Świątek reclaim her invincible aura?
Can Coco Gauff continue her run of impressive form? There will be a new winner of the trophy, since none of the eight qualified players have ever won the competition before, while the year-end world No. 1 title is at stake too. After reaching at least the semifinals in every grand slam and winning the Australian Open, Sabalenka is currently the world No. 1. She can secure the year-end ranking with two group stage victories but if she slips up and Iga Świątek reaches the final, the Pole can regain the position she previously held for 75 weeks.
The first game takes place on October 29 and the tournament lasts a week until the final on November 5. Tennis fans in the USA will be able to watch on the Tennis Channel, while those in the UK and Ireland can watch on Amazon Prime Video. A full list including other countries’ broadcasters is available here . Sabalenka will head to the field as the world No. 1 and will be joined by Wimbledon champion Markéta Vondroušová, US Open champion Coco Gauff, French Open champion Świątek, Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina and US star Jessica Pegula.
Czech Republic’s Karolína Muchová was forced to withdraw from the competition through injury and has subsequently been replaced by Greece’s Maria Sakkari. The eight players are divided between two groups of four, with the top two from each pool progressing to the semifinals. In one group Sabalenka, Rybakina, Pegula and Sakkari will face each other while Swiatek, Gauff, Jabeur and Vondrousova will play each other in the other. Familiar match-ups are contained within each group. Sabalenka defeated Rybakina in the Australian Open earlier this year, while Rybakina exacted her revenge in the Indian Wells final.
In the other group, meanwhile, Gauff and Swiatek will play each other for the 10th time in their relatively young careers. “I’m coming in with a lot of confidence,” Gauff said, according to the WTA, as she enters the tournament fresh from her first grand slam triumph at the US Open. “Last year, I didn’t do so well, so it’s nothing but up.”
This year’s edition will be held in Cancun, Mexico – the second time the country has hosted the tournament after Guadalajara was the venue in 2021.
Eight pairs have also reached the doubles tournament, with the US pairing of Gauff Pegula qualifying as top seeds. Defending champion Elise Mertens tops the other pool, joining forces with Storm Hunter instead of her partner last year, Veronika Kudermetova. © 2023 Cable News Network. A Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All Rights Reserved. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Credit – CNN