Top Eight Women Set for WTA Finals Stage in Fort Worth

Top Eight Women Set for WTA Finals Stage in Fort Worth

4 min read

After over 10 months of traveling worldwide, the best eight women will battle it out for the WTA Finals trophy in Texas next week. Fort Worth is hosting the year-end championships for the first time with half of the singles field making their first appearance at the WTA Finals, and the other half, just their second.

The format features two groups for round-robin action, followed by knockout rounds from the semifinals. Let’s take a look at who will be competing.

(1) Iga Swiatek (13.20)

WTA Ranking: No. 1

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 1

2022 Highlights: 8 titles (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome, Roland Garros, US Open, and San Diego)

2022 Record: 62-8

WTA Finals Appearances: 1 (2021 group stage)

It's Iga Swiatek's world and everyone is just living in it. No player has won as much as the 21-year-old Pole has in 2022, highlighted by a 37-match win streak, the "Sunshine Double" (Indian Wells and Miami), and two Grand Slam titles. She's the obvious favorite to dominate the field in Fort Worth, but her experience in round-robins is limited. There's a lot up for grabs—1,500 WTA points and a $1.68 million paycheck if she goes undefeated.

Players are awarded a set amount of points/prize money for playing each match, with additional points and prize money for wins. Swiatek is in the Tracy Austin Group with Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia, and Daria Kasatkina. The Rosie Casals Group features Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari, and Aryna Sabalenka.

(2) Ons Jabeur (12.97)

WTA Ranking: No. 2

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 3

2022 Highlights: 2 titles (Madrid, Berlin) and 2 Grand Slam finals (Wimbledon and US Open)

2022 Record: 46-15

WTA Finals Appearances: 0 (debut)

Jabeur has broken through on the Grand Slam stage in 2022, twice. The 28-year-old Tunisian lost the Wimbledon final to Elena Rybakina and the US Open final to Swiatek. While Rybakina is not in the WTA Finals field, Jabeur will be eager for a win over Swiatek, as well as another trophy after winning her biggest-to-date at the WTA 1000 in Madrid earlier this year. The showdown will have to wait, because as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, they're in opposite round-robin groups.

(3) Jessica Pegula (12.93)

Jessica Pegula is capping off her best year with her WTA Finals debut. (AP Photo: Refugio Ruiz)

WTA Ranking: No. 3

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 3

2022 Highlights: 1 title (Guadalajara), 1 final (Madrid), and 3 Grand Slam quarterfinals

2022 Record: 41-17

WTA Finals Appearances: 0 (debut)

Pegula has taken her games to soaring new heights in 2022. The 28-year-old American just snagged the WTA 1000 trophy in Guadalajara with four consecutive wins over former Grand Slam champions: Rybakina, Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens, and Victoria Azarenka. Her fifth and final win was over Maria Sakkari, who snuck into the WTA Finals field at the last moment.

Pegula will also be in the doubles tournament alongside compatriot Gauff. Pegula has enjoyed a stellar doubles season with five titles, including Doha, Toronto, and San Diego with Gauff.

(4) Coco Gauff (12.82)

WTA Ranking: No. 4

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 11

2022 Highlights: 1 Grand Slam final (Roland Garros)

2022 Record: 38-19

WTA Finals Appearances: 0 (debut)

Gauff is gearing up for a busy week as the 18-year-old will be making her debut in the singles and doubles draws. She spent a month at the World No. 1 position in doubles, and, in singles, cracked the Top 10 this year only to follow it up by reaching No. 4. She's the youngest WTA Finals qualifier since 2005. She's reached the quarterfinals in five of her last six appearances.

(5) Maria Sakkari (12.45)

WTA Ranking: No. 5

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 52

2022 Highlights: 4 finals (St. Petersburg, Indian Wells, Parma, and Guadalajara)

2022 Record: 37-22

WTA Finals Appearances: 1 (2021 semifinals)

Sakkari's bid for her second WTA Finals appearance came down to the wire. The 27-year-old beat Veronika Kudermetova in the Guadalajara quarterfinals to book her place in Fort Worth. She would make it to the finals, falling to Pegula. The Greek has had a rollercoaster of a second half of the season. After losing early at Wimbledon and the US Open, she reached the Parma WTA 250 final. She then lost two opening rounds in a row before her final appearance at the WTA 1000 in Guadalajara. Of everyone in the WTA Finals field, Sakkari has the biggest discrepancy between WTA ranking of No. 5 and her UTR Rating-based ranking of No. 52.

(6) Carolina Garica (12.89)

Caroline Garcia gained a lot of winning momentum this summer. (AP Photo: Eugene Hoshiko)

WTA Ranking: No. 6

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 6

2022 Highlights: 3 titles (Bad Homburg, Warsaw, Cincinnati) and 1 Grand Slam semifinal (US Open)

2022 Record: 39-19

WTA Finals Appearances: 1 (2017 semifinals)

Garcia started the 2022 season outside of the WTA Top 60, and now sits at No. 6. She picked up a ton of confidence over the summer with a title at the WTA 250 in Bad Homburg and a run to the fourth round at the All England Club. She then won another title in Warsaw before stringing together eight wins to capture the Western & Southern Open as a qualifier. The Frenchwoman steamrolled through the US Open field until she ran into Jabeur in the semifinals. While she's gone 1-3 since New York, Garcia has a way of bringing out her best when she needs it most.

(7) Aryna Sabalenka (12.76)

WTA Ranking: No. 7

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 16

2022 Highlights: 2 finals (Stuttgart, s'-Hertogenbosch) and 1 Grand Slam semifinal (US Open)

2022 Record: 30-20

WTA Finals Appearances: 1 (2021 group stage)

Although she hasn't added any titles to her collection this season, Sabalenka has had fits of brilliance. While her serve has held her back, she picked up confidence on grass in s'-Hertogenbosch, and pushed Swiatek to three sets in the US Open semifinals. While her WTA ranking is still holding at No. 7, based on UTR Rating, she's a little lower at No. 16.

(8) Daria Kasatkina (12.89)

Daria Kasatkina is one of four players making her WTA Finals debut. (AP Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez)

WTA Ranking: No. 8

UTR Pro Tennis Tour Ranking: No. 5

2022 Highlights: 2 titles (San Jose, Granby), 1 Grand Slam semifinal (Roland Garros)

2022 Record: 40-20

WTA Finals Appearances: 0 (debut)

Like Garcia, Kasatkina really found her grove in the middle of the year. In August, she collected two titles, bringing her career total up to six. While the wins did not get her far in New York (she lost in the first round), her results were strong enough to secure her place in the year-end championships for the very first time. The 25-year-old is up to No. 8 in the WTA Rankings for her career-best, and per UTR Rating, is actually up even higher at No. 5.

Action begins on Monday with Pegula vs. Sakkari, followed by Jabeur vs. Sabalenka.

Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings as of 10:00 a.m. EST, October 27, 2022.

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