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

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…





Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.


Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.




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Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 


The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.




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Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 


The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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