The draw has been revealed for this year’s WTA Finals, with some enticing matchups on paper.
The 2021 tournament starts tomorrow in Guadalajara, Mexico, and features eight of the best players in the world this season, who will compete for a total prize pool of $5 million.
The draw was conducted at a private gala on Monday night with the groups named after ancient Mexican cities –– Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan and El Tajin.
Reigning champion Ashleigh Barty will not be defending her title this year, having decided to return to Australia and recover ahead of next year.
It means world number two, Aryna Sabalenka, is the highest-ranked player in the draw, with the Belarusian drawn in the Chichen Itza group.
The 23-year-old will face Greece’s Maria Sakkari as well as former French Open champion, Iga Swiatek and Spain’s Paula Badosa.
Both Sakkari and Sabalenka reached the semi-finals of the US Open in September, but the two were eliminated by Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez respectively.
Meanwhile, Swiatek has struggled at the major tournaments this year and was unable to defend her Roland-Garros title from 2020. However, the 20-year-old remains the youngest player inside the world’s top 10 and won her first hard court title in Adelaide earlier this year.
Badosa is the most in-form of the four players, having won the Indian Wells Masters last month. The Spaniard started 2021 ranked 70th, but has enjoyed a breakout season and could be the dark horse of this group.
Current French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova is the highest-ranked in group Teotihuacan and will face Czech compatriot Karolina Pliskova.
Pliskova is ranked fourth in the world and reached the final of Wimbledon, before losing to Barty.
They are joined by former world number one Garbine Muguruza –– a two-time time major champion, who has two WTA tour wins this year.
Making up the final spot is Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. The 25-year-old was the last to qualify for the competition, sneaking in ahead of Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur after winning back-to-back titles at the Kremlin Cup and the Transylvania Open. Kontaveit is on a 10-match winning streak and her recent form may well give her an advantage.
The Estonian has never faced Krejcikova before and will play the Czech in the opening match of the tournament tomorrow.News Now - Sport News