The Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara features the top singles and doubles players in the world. Here is everything you need to know about this prestigious year-end championship. 

When does the tournament start? 

Round-robin play for both singles and doubles begins Wednesday, Nov. 10, with the knockout stages beginning with the semifinals Tuesday, Nov. 16. During the group stage, each day will feature two sessions, with each comprised of one singles match and one doubles match.

The tournament will be held at the Akron Tennis Stadium in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico. The venue was the site of the tennis competition at the 2011 Pan-American Games.

When are the championship matches? 

The doubles final will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 5p.m local, with the singles final following at 7:30 p.m. 

Who is playing? 

The top eight singles and doubles players at the conclusion of the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals qualify for the season-ending championships. No.1 Ashleigh Barty opted not to defend her 2019 title because of quarantine restrictions in Australia, opening up a qualifying position for the No.9 player on the Porsche Leaderboard.

Singles field

1. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
2. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)
3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
4. Maria Sakkari (GRE)
5. Iga Swiatek (POL)
6. Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
7. Paula Badosa (ESP)
8. Anett Kontaveit (EST)

In the doubles competition, the teams of Coco Gauff/Caty McNally and Gabriela Dabrowski/Luisa Stefani finished in qualifying position but are unable to play.

Doubles field

1. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) & Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
2. Shuko Aoyama (JPN) & Ena Shibahara (JPN)
3. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) & Elise Mertens (BEL)
4. Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) & Demi Schuurs (NED)
5. Samantha Stosur (AUS) & Zhang Shuai (CHN)
6. Alexa Guarachi (CHI) & Desirae Krawczyk (USA)
7. Darija Jurak (CRO) & Andreja Klepac (SLO)
8. Sharon Fichman (CAN) & Giuliana Olmos (MEX)

Road to WTA Finals, singles

Road to WTA Finals, doubles

Why are the 2021 WTA Finals being held in Guadalajara? 

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mexico will host the tour's season-ending championships for the first time. The tournament is set to return to its home in Shenzhen, China in 2022.

Mexico and Guadalajara are no strangers to women's tennis. The WTA has held events in Acapulco and Monterrey over the years, and Guadalajara successfully hosted a WTA 250 event earlier this season at the Akron Tennis Center.

Guadalajara is more than 5,000 feet above sea level. The WTA Finals will be played on outdoor hardcourt using Wilson US Open high altitude balls. The Electronic Line Calling system will be provided by FoxTenn.

What is the format? 

The WTA Finals will be played in a round-robin format for the 18th consecutive staging. The format was re-introduced in the singles event in 2003.

The eight singles players and doubles teams will be divided into two groups of four. The top two players or teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, where the tournament will resume a standard knockout format. 

The final standings of each group shall be determined by the following:

  1. Greatest number of wins
  2. Greatest number of matches played; or
  3. Head-to-head results if only two (2) players are tied, or if three (3) players are tied then:
    • If three (3) players each have the same number of wins, a player having played less than all three (3) matches is automatically eliminated and the player advancing to the single elimination competition is the winner of the match-up of the two remaining tied players; or
  • Highest percentage of sets won; or
  • Highest percentage of games won.
  • If the above tie-breaking methods produce one (1) superior player (1st place) or one inferior player (3rd place), and the two (2) remaining players are tied, the tie between those two (2) players shall be broken by head-to-head record.

What is the prize money? 

The 2021 WTA Finals has a total prize pool of $5 million dollars. In contrast to a standard knockout draw format, a player or team's prize money at the WTA Finals is determined by her performance and participation in the tournament. The below chart is a breakdown of the rest.

Who's in which group this year?

The draw ceremony was held Monday evening at the Palacio Municipal de Zapopan with all players in attendance as well as dignitaries and VIPs. The group names - Chichén Itzá, Teotihuacán, Tenochtitlán, and El Tajin - are a tribute to the pre-Colombian era of Mexican history, with all four groups being named after ancient cities in Mexico. 

Group Chichén Itzá
1. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
4. Maria Sakkari (GRE)
5. Iga Swiatek (POL)
7. Paula Badosa (ESP)

Read: The 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara by the numbers

Group Teotihuacán
2. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)
3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
6. Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
8. Anett Kontaveit (EST)

Group Teotihuacán will kick off play Wednesday. For more draw analysis click here