WTA Finals Daily Preview: Sabalenka and Swiatek Fight for the No.1 Ranking - UBITENNIS
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WTA Finals Daily Preview: Sabalenka and Swiatek Fight for the No.1 Ranking

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Iga Swiatek on Friday in Cancun (twitter.com/wta)

It’s Semifinal Saturday in Cancun, with the year-end World No.1 ranking on the line.

The semifinalists are four of the top five players in the world, and three of the four Major singles champions of 2023.  The first semifinal is a battle between close friends and doubles partners: Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff

The second semifinal is one of the biggest WTA matches of the year, between the year’s two best players: Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek.  If Sabalenka wins, she secures the year-end World No.1 ranking.  If Swiatek wins, and also goes on to win Sunday’s final, she’ll end the season as No.1 for the second straight year.  It’s a huge day of tennis on Saturday in Cancun.


Jessica Pegula (5) vs. Coco Gauff (3) – Not Before 5:00pm local time

It will be a very busy day for both Pegula and Gauff, as they’re also still alive in doubles, and are yet to finish their last round-robin match.  And based on that result, they could advance to the semifinals in doubles, which will also be played on Saturday.

A year after both Jess and Coco each went 0-6 between singles and doubles at this event, they’ve completely turned things around in 2023.  Pegula went 3-0 in singles round-robin play, taking all six sets she played.  Gauff went 2-1, coming back from a set down on Friday night against Marketa Vondrousova to clinch her semifinal spot.

Pegula leads their head-to-head 2-1 overall, and 2-0 on hard courts.  Gauff’s only victory came earlier this season on grass in Eastbourne.  They played an extremely tight contest this summer in Montreal, with Jess prevailing 7-5 in the third, making her the only player to defeat Coco this summer on a hard court. 

Based on their history, as well as their form this week, Pegula should be favored to advance to Sunday’s final.  Her victories this week over Sabalenka, Rybakina, and Sakkari were clinical, while Gauff’s serve has broken down significantly in the windy conditions.


Aryna Sabalenka (1) vs. Iga Swiatek (2) – Not Before 6:15pm local time

Much like Pegula, Swiatek swept through round-robin play with a 3-0 record, and a 6-0 record in sets.  Sabalenka crushed Maria Sakkari in her first match, then lost to Pegula before outlasting Rybakina in three. 

Sabalenka is 55-13 on the year, compared to Swiatek’s record of 66-11.  But despite winning 11 more matches, Iga trails Aryna by 630 points in the rankings, as Sabalenka performed extremely well at the Majors.  That means Swiatek must win this event to overtake Sabalenka as the year-end No.1.

Swiatek leads their head-to-head 5-3 overall, but they are 2-2 on hard courts.  And Sabalenka’s two hard court triumphs came in the past two years in this tournament, with Aryna winning in three sets each time.  They split two meetings this year, though they were both on clay.  Their highest-profile encounter was in the 2022 US Open semifinals, where Iga came back from a set down to prevail 6-4 in the third.

With so much on the line in this semifinal, I give Swiatek the slight edge.  She’s been the much more consistent player this week amid tough conditions in Cancun.  Plus, being the World No.1 is still rather new territory for Sabalenka, so she’ll surely be nervous as she tries to defend her ranking against the former No.1.


Saturday’s full Order of Play for the WTA Finals is here.

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Matteo Berrettini battles past Alejandro Tabilo to reach the quarter final in Kitzbuehl

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Matteo Berrettini beat second seed Alejandro Tabilo 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) to reach the quarter final at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehl. 

Berrettini has extended his winning streak to seven consecutive matches following his second title of the year in Gstaad against Quentin Halys. The Italian player won 79% of his first service points.  

Berrettini went up 2-2 0-30 but Tabilo hit two aces to hold  serve. Tabilo led 30-15 at 3-4, but Berrettini hit three aces to hold serve. Berrettini earned his first mini-break to take a 5-4 lead after a double fault from Tabilo and won the final two points to close out the tie-break 7-4. 

Tabilo saved four break points in the second game from 0-40 down to hold serve at deuce. Berrettini went up a break in the eight game to take a 5-2 lead. The Italian player was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, as Tabilo broke back in the 10th game. Both players went on serve en route to tie-break. Berrettini earned two mini-breaks to take a 5-2 lead. Tabilo pulled one mini-break back, but Berrettini sealed the win on his third match point.

“Having the chance to just play, feeling good and healthy, fighting for matches is just what I wanted for so many matches. So I am enjoying it and I am looking forward for my next match”, said Berrettini.

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Jannik Sinner Withdraws From Olympics Due To Tonsillitis

Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

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(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

World number one Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the Olympics due to tonsillitis.

The Italian was well placed to win a medal in Paris but has now had to withdraw from the games due to illness.

It was supposed to be his first Olympics as he was set to be the top seed in both singles and doubles.

However Sinner seems to still be struggling from his health problems that he had at Wimbledon in his quarter-final match against Daniil Medvedev.

In a statement on Twitter Sinner said he was strongly advised to miss the Olympics and will now watch from home.

Sinner will now be replaced in the singles draw by Andrea Vavassori while Luciano Darderi will now team up with Lorenzo Musetti in doubles.

Now Sinner aims to be healthy in time for his title defence in Canada which starts on the 5th of August.

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Coco Gauff ‘Proud’ Of Being Named Olympic Flagbearer alongside Lebron James

Coco Gauff will be the US flagbearer alongside Lebron James at the opening ceremony in Paris.

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(@marioboc17 - Twitter)

Coco Gauff has explained her pride about being named Olympic flagbearer alongside NBA legend Lebron James.

The American found out when Christopher Eubanks revealed the news to Gauff and the rest of the US tennis team in a video that was posted on Instagram.

It was news that came as a shock to Gauff who is set to make her first appearance at the Olympics.

The incredible news got better as she will be flagbearer alongside idol and NBA legend Lebron James.

Speaking about the news Gauff spoke about the pride she feels and how the Olympics is one of her goals for the season, “I still feel like this is all a dream.” Gauff said to Vogue.

“There is no greater honor than being chosen by my fellow athletes to be this year’s flag bearer, especially alongside one of my idols, Lebron. I would say the biggest things on there are to win another Slam, and a medal at the Olympics.”

Gauff is in a good position to win a medal at the Olympics and will be full of confidence heading into the event having reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros, where the Olympic tennis event is being played.

Now the American gets to complete her Olympic experience by having a moment of a lifetime alongside one of America’s all-time great athletes, “I never thought in a million years I would have the honour of carrying the American flag for Team USA in the Opening Ceremony,” Gauff stated.

“I could not be more proud to lead my teammates with LeBron as we showcase our dedication and passion on the biggest stage there is — at a moment where we can bring athletes and fans together from around the world.”

The opening ceremony will take place on Friday evening while the tennis event gets underway on Saturday.

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