New faces ready for battle at the end of the WTA Finals season
With world number one and starting Ash Barty absent from this week’s WTA Finals, the only certainty for the eight players in the season-ending showdown in Guadalajara, Mexico is that a new champion will be. Crown.
Barty, who counts Wimbledon among the five titles she has won this season, said last month that she would end her 2021 season early due to COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions in Australia and start to getting ready for his Grand Slam in Melbourne in January.
Her absence means that world number four Karolina Pliskova, who is making her fifth consecutive WTA final, and Spain’s number 5 Garbine Muguruza, returning for the first time since 2017, are the only two players with previous experience in the WTA. ‘event.
The rest of the peloton for the WTA Finals from November 10 to 17 will consist of Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (No 2), Czech Barbora Krejcikova (No 3), Greece’s Maria Sakkari (No 6), Estonian Anett Kontaveit (No 8), from Poland Iga Swiatek (No 9) and the Spanish Paula Badosa (No 10).
Sabalenka is hoping to put the finishing touches on what has been a defining season which included wins in Abu Dhabi and Madrid as well as semi-final appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Pliskova, widely regarded as one of the best active untitled Grand Slam players, had a slow start to the season but reached the Wimbledon final before putting on an impressive run on the North American hard courts.
The former world number one finished second in Montreal, advanced to the semi-finals in Cincinnati, then reached the quarter-finals of the US Open to secure his fifth straight place in the WTA final, longest active qualifying streak on tour.
Muguruza, who won two titles in four finals this season, had her best performance in the WTA Finals on her debut in 2015 when she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Agnieska Radwanska.
Kontaveit, the latest singles player to secure her place in Guadalajara, will bring unprecedented confidence to the event given a remarkable end to the season in which she came out of nowhere to win 26 of 28 matches. and win four titles.
The eight players will be split into two groups for the round robin and the top two from each round to the semi-finals.