Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka know that destiny is in their own hands as far as the WTA year-end No. 1 ranking is concerned. At the halfway stage of the 2023 WTA Finals, the math is a little bit simplified thanks to the Pole’s two round-robin wins.
Has Sabalenka Missed Fluffed Her Chance To Finish As WTA Year-End No. 1?
Coming to the WTA Finals, the gap between the world’s top two players in the year-end race stood at 630 points. Sabalenka had 8,425 points while Swiatek tallied 7,795 points.
For each round-robin win, a player receives 125 points. And for each round-robin match played a player gets an additional 125 points. So Swiatek who has played two and won two has added 500 points in the live race, taking her total points tally to 8,295. The Pole is facing Ons Jabeur in the last group-stage match on Friday night and can afford a loss there without harming her chances, I’ll explain in a moment.
Sabalenka has played two and won one. The winner-take-all final group match against Elena Rybakina was suspended due to rain. The World No. 1 led by a set but trails 3-5 in the second set. So, Sabalenka has earned 375 points for playing each of the three group matches. She has also received 125 points for winning one match. She can add an additional 125 points if she closes out her match against Rybakina on resumption of play on Friday.
The Belarusian’s current tally in the live race stands at 8,925 points. Sabalenka can earn a maximum of 9,800 points this week. She’ll need to beat Rybakina and qualify for the semifinal. Then, she’ll need to win the title to attain that figure, which will be sufficient to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking.
But if Sabalenka stumbles against Rybakina, then she’ll be eliminated in the group stage, with a 1-2 round-robin record. She’ll be stuck at 8,925 points and will give Swiatek the all-clear to wrestle the No. 1 ranking. Here’s how:
What Swiatek Needs To Finish As Year-End No. 1
Swiatek can garner a maximum of 9,295 points during the week as an undefeated champion. She’ll need to beat Ons Jabeur in the last group match and go on to lift the title.
If Swiatek loses to Jabeur, then her situation doesn’t change. She’ll still need to win the title. She has done the bare minimum of winning two round-robin matches to stay in touch. And because she’s likely to finish top in her group and Sabalenka is guaranteed to finish second, we could have a de facto shootout for the year-end No.1 in the semifinal.
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