Five Things To Know About The WTA Finals - UBITENNIS
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Five Things To Know About The WTA Finals

Newcomers, familiar faces and history makers. This year’s tournament is one full of intrigue.



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The WTA Tour has reached its climax with the prestigious year-end Finals taking place in South America for the first time at the Panamerican Tennis Center in Mexico.


The eight highest ranked players have qualified for the event based on the points they have earned over the past 12 months. At stake is a prize money offering of up to $1.68M should a player clinch the title without losing a single match, as well as a maximum of 1500 ranking points.

Players have been separated into two groups with the top two of those progressing to the knockout stages later in the week. Group Chichén Itzá will feature Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa. Meanwhile, Group Teotihuacán has Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit.

Ahead of the 2021 WTA Finals getting underway, here are five facts to know about this year’s tournament.

The debutantes

This year six out of the eight participants in the WTA Finals are playing in the tournament for the first time in their careers. The only exceptions are Pliskova and Muguruza. This year will be the fifth time Pliskova has played in the season-ending event which is the joint-four highest number of appearances among active players. Only Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams have played in more. The Czech has managed to progress out of the group stages in three out of her four previous appearances but is yet to make a final. Meanwhile, two-time Grand Slam winner Muguruza will be making her fourth appearance and her first since 2017. Her best run was six years ago when she reached the semi-finals.

The history makers

Sakkari and Kontaveit will be the first players representing their countries in the tournament. Greece’s Sakkari has already achieved a series of milestones for her country this season, including being the first woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final and the first woman to crack the top 10. As for 25-year-old Kontaveit, who was the last player to qualify for the finals, she became the first Estonian to break into the world’s top 10 this season.

At the other end of the spectrum the Czech Republic will be represented in the tournament for the 10th time in a row. They are the only country to be represented in the singles draw by multiple players with Pliskova and Krejčíková taking part.

Double duty

French Open champion Krejčíková is the first player since Pliskova in 2016 to be playing in both the singles and doubles events. She is the top seed in the doubles draw alongside Katerina Siniakova, as well as the second seed in singles. Should she win both, Krejčíková would become the first player to do so at the WTA Finals since Martina Hingis back in 2000.

The Czech 25-year-old won 15 matches in a row earlier this year during May to July which is the longest winning streak achieved by a WTA player on the Tour this session.

Kontaveit on fire

Despite being the last to qualify, Kontaveit’s recent surge in form positions her as a big contender for the crown. She has won three out of the past five tournaments played in Chicago, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca. During that period she has achieved five wins over top 20 opponents with the last of those being against Simona Halep in Romania.

Kontaveit has won four titles in total this year which is more than any other player participating in the WTA Finals. The only player to have won more than her is world No.1 Ash Barty with five. Barty has chosen not to participate in the event in order to prepare for the new season.

A new group of leaders

This time last year, five out of the eight players participating had never broken into the world’s top 10 on the WTA Tour. Swiatek, Badosa, Krejcikova, Sakkari and Kontaveit all achieved this milestone in 2021.

Ranking W/C 9/11/2020Ranking W/C 8/11/2021
Iga Swiatek 179
Maria Sakkari226
Anett Kontaveit238
Paula Badosa6910
Barbora Krejčíková 743

SEE ALSO: WTA Finals Daily Preview: Fresh Faces Invade the 2021 Field

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Hamad Medjedovic wins the Next Gen Finals title in Jeddah



Hamad Medjedovic came back from one set down to beat Arthur Fils 3-4 (6-8) 4-1 4-2 3-4 (9-11) 4-1 after 2 hours and 11 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. 


Medjedovic hit 38 winners to 21 unforced errors. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medjedovic earned a mini-break to take a 3-2 lead and held two set points at 6-4, but he was not able to convert them. Fils won four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game to win the second set 4-1. 

Medjedovic becomes the sixth Next Gen ATP Finals champion, joining top 10 players Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old Serbian player is the lowest-ranked champion in tournament history. 

Medjedovic started the third set with an early break in the first game. The Serbian player held on his serve to seal the set 4-2. 

Medjedovic recovered from squandering two match points at 6-4 in a thrilling tie-break of the fourth set at 5-6 and 7-8. Fils saved both chances on second serves and won four of the next five points to win the tie-break 11-9 forcing the match to a deciding set. 

to win the first five-set final in tournament history. The Serbian player won 88% and converted his third match point to clinch the biggest title of his career so far. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game of the fifth set. Fils earned himself a penalty point for a smash of his raquet and went down 0-3. Medjedovic held on his next service games and converted his third match point. 

“Two of us from Serbia. Djokovic won the big Masters, the real one, and I won the Next Gen. Obviously it’s a huge thing and I am happy to follow in his footsteps in some way. I can’t believe I have won this title. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024. Arthur is an amazing player. He is top 40 for a reason”, said Medjedovic. 

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Elena Rybakina headlines a strong line-up in Adelaide



Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Carolina Garcia and Angelique Kerber will highlight the Adelaide International, a WTA 500 tournament.


Rybakina reached the final at the Adelaide International on her tournament debut in 2022, losing to now retired Ashleigh Barty. Rybakina went on to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon later last year. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open final in 2023. 

Zheng won her first WTA 500 title in Zhengzhou and reached the final in Zhuhai, ending the 2023 season at a career-high of world number 15. 

Angelique Kerber will make her come-back to the WTA Tour at the United Cup before playing her first WTA draw in Adelaide. Kerber gave birth to her daughter Liana last February. The German player won titles at the 2016 Australian Open and in Sydney 2018 and reached in Sydney 2014 and in Brisbane 2018. 

Kerber is one of the three former number 1 players, who are making her come-back on the WTA Tour after giving birth to their children. 

Caroline Wozniacki lost to eventual champion Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 at the US Open in her third tournament back. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is planning to make her return next January after giving back to her child Shai last July. 

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play. So I think some people will be happy with that. I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of player and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I will set myself up for a very good end of the year”, said Osaka.

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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 


Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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