The race for the last place at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara has come down to a thrilling battle between Ons Jabeur and Anett Kontaveit.
Following the withdrawal of Ashleigh Barty for the season-ending event, six players have been confirmed for the WTA Finals.
This includes Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejčíková, Karolína Plíšková, Maria Sakkari, Iga Świątek and Garbiñe Muguruza.
Indian Wells winner Paula Badosa is likely to qualify for the WTA Finals this week, leaving just one place open for the prestigious event.
Tunisia’s Jabeur is in pole position to grab the last spot with 3,020 points in the WTA rankings. But Kontaveit, on 2,625 points, could still overtake her.
The Estonian has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the WTA standings after winning three titles in two months. Her latest victory was at the Kremlin Cup last week.
Only two other players have more titles in 2021 than Kontaveit – French Open champion Barbora Krejickova also has three to her name, while Barty has a tour-leading five.
To qualify for the WTA Finals, Kontaveit must win the Transylyvania Open in Cluj-Napoca this week.
She initially had to rely on Jabeur failing to reach the semi-finals at the Courmayeur Ladies Open, but a twist of fate has now put Kontaveit in the driving seat.
Jabeur revealed yesterday she had pulled out of the Courmayeur Ladies Open due to an elbow injury, having withdrawn from her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Kremlin Cup.
Mathematically, US Open winner Emma Raducanu could also still qualify for the WTA Finals, but she is unlikely to accrue the points needed at this stage of the season.
Fortunately for Jabeur and Kontaveit, they both seem to be enjoying the thrilling race for the last WTA Finals place.
American tennis player Kristie Ahn shared a hilarious image on Instagram, with the caption: "2021 Porsche Race to the WTA Finals: Squid Game edition."
The photo, a reference to the popular Netflix show Squid Game, shows the players involved in the WTA Finals race playing "red light, green light".
Players such as Sabalenka and Sakkari are seen relaxing, while Jabeur and Kontaveit are depicted as still competing for safety.
In response to the Instagram post, Jabeur commented: "Could you please tell Annet Kontaveit to back off a bit", with Kontaveit responding "hahahahahahaha" alongside numerous devil emojis.
Despite the lighthearted nature of the race, both players will be desperate to book a place at the WTA Finals.
The tournament, which pits the world’s eight best players against each other, is scheduled to run from November 10th to 17th in Guadalajara.
It can be extremely profitable for the winner, with 2019 Barty taking home $4.42 million (£30.7 million) in prize money.
World number one Barty, winner of this year’s Wimbledon, has withdrawn from the WTA Finals due to the quarantine rules she would face upon her return to Australia.
The 25-year-old said she did not want to "compromise" her preparation for January's Australian Open.News Now - Sport News