The 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara begins Wednesday, continuing the prestigious legacy of the WTA's year-ending championship. Here are some facts and figures from its five-decade history and this year's current edition.
ABOUT THE WTA FINALS
50: The 2021 edition of the WTA Finals will be the 50th staging of the year-end championships.
18: The current round-robin format of the WTA Finals was re-introduced in 2003. This year will mark the 18th consecutive year using the format.
23: The top seed has won the title at the WTA Finals 23 times, including in 2019 when Ashleigh Barty won the title. World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed in Guadalajara.
8: Only eight times has a player posted a 3-0 record in the round-robin stage and advanced to win the title. The last time a player won the title undefeated was Elina Svitolina in 2018.
2: In the current format, a player has advanced out of the round-robin stage with a 1-2 record and gone on to win the title two times – Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015, and Dominika Cibulkova in 2016.
On August 17th, Anett Kontaveit was on a 5-match losing streak after losing to Ons Jabeur in 1R Cincinnati.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 31, 2021
Since August 17th: Went 26-2, 4 titles, and will surge from No.30 to No.8 on the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals.
On Monday, the Estonian will make her Top 10 debut. pic.twitter.com/ItzmYiJgw1
ABOUT THE 2021 PARTICIPANTS
6: Six of the eight qualifiers in singles at this year’s WTA Finals are making their singles tournament debut – Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek.
5: Karolina Pliskova is making her fifth consecutive appearance in the WTA Finals, returning as the most experienced player in the draw. Pliskova owns a 7-8 record at the WTA Finals, advancing to the semifinals in her last three appearances
4: For the fourth time in her career, Garbiñe Muguruza returns to Mexico to compete in a WTA event. Muguruza owns a 10-1 record in Mexico, with a 10-match win streak after winning back-to-back titles in Monterrey in 2018 and 2019.
20: Iga Swiatek is the youngest player in this year’s singles competition, at 20 years, 170 days old (as of the end of the tournament).
29: At 29 years old, 241 days (as of the end of the tournament), Karolina Pliskova is the oldest participant in the singles draw.
2011: The Czech Republic has been represented at every edition of the WTA Finals since 2011. The last 10 WTA Finals have included Petra Kvitova (2011-15, 2018-19), Barbora Krejcikova (2021), Karolina Pliskova (2016-19, 2021) and Lucie Safarova (2015).
1998: Before the current streak of consecutive appearances from the Czechs, Petra Kvitova’s appearance at the 2011 WTA Finals was the first by a Czech woman in singles since 1998 (Jana Novotna).
2016: Barbora Krejcikova qualified for the WTA Finals in singles and in doubles as the top seed alongside her partner Katerina Siniakova. It is the first time since 2016 that a player qualified for the WTA Finals in singles and doubles, when Karolina Pliskova pulled off the feat.
2001: With Garbiñe Muguruza and Paula Badosa both qualifying for the WTA Finals, it is the first time since 2001 that Spain will have two players competing in the event. That year, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez (who now coaches Muguruza) both played.
Maria Sakkari spent 2021 re-writing the history books for Greek tennis to qualify for her 1st @WTAFinals.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) November 7, 2021
Sakkari’s Road to Guadalajara: https://t.co/ASz626CIXN#AKRONWTAFinals pic.twitter.com/YWeyDAMBBm
MATCH STATS & RECORDS
7: Maria Sakkari posted a 7-3 record vs. Top 10-ranked opponents this year at tour-level events (not including the Olympics). Before the 2021 season, Sakkari was 10-13 vs. Top 10 opponents.
17: Paula Badosa led the tour in clay-court match wins in 2021, posting a 17-3 record on clay. She reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, the semifinals at Madrid and Charleston, and won the title in Belgrade.
2: Barbora Krejcikova is 13-2 in 3-set matches in 2021, with her only losses coming to Iga Swiatek (R16 at Rome) and Belinda Bencic (R16 at Olympics).
13: Aryna Sabalenka enters the WTA Finals with a 44-16 record in 2021, with 13 of her 16 losses coming in three-set matches. Sabalenka is 9-13 in 3-set matches this year.
How World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka paired her power with breakthrough consistency to achieve a major breakthrough and qualify for her 1st @WTA Finals.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) November 5, 2021
Sabalenka’s Road to Guadalajara: https://t.co/jArySfXvrK#AKRONWTAFinals pic.twitter.com/BjaIgvNQSl
26: Anett Kontaveit posted a 26-2 record in her final seven tournaments of the season, winning four titles. Prior to that stretch, in mid-August, the 25-year-old Estonian was 19-13 and sat at No.30 on the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard. Kontaveit won her fourth title of the season at Cluj-Napoca, overtaking Ons Jabeur on the Leaderboard and staking claim to the final qualification spot for this year’s WTA Finals.
364: Karolina Pliskova enters the WTA Finals with a tour-leading 364 aces, with Aryna Sabalenka trailing her with 338. Pliskova has led the tour in aces in four of the past six seasons.
39-2: Both Barbora Krejcikova and Anett Kontaveit are 39-2 in 2021 when winning the first set.
9: Paula Badosa has nine come-from-behind wins this year, rallying for the win after dropping the first set. That is the most come-from-behind wins among this year’s WTA Finals participants. The next-most belongs to Anett Kontaveit (6).
36: Anett Kontaveit owns a tour-leading 36 match wins on hardcourts this year (36-10).