Now, this is getting interesting.

With only three weeks left in the regular season, the race to the WTA Finals is tightening up. This week’s Agel Open 2022 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and Monastir, Tunisia, should bring some clarity -- or perhaps not.

Ostrava draw: Swiatek back in action, Raducanu faces Kasatkina in opener

World No.1 Iga Swiatek, the top seed in Ostrava, has already qualified for the year-end championships in Fort Worth, Texas, along with No.2 Ons Jabeur. And while those next in line -- Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka -- are in solid position, things just below are fluid.

Daria Kasatkina, the No.5 seed in Ostrava, sits in the seventh spot for the elite field of eight. Technically, Simona Halep occupies the No.8 position, but she’s already ruled herself out for the rest of the season.

This week's results

Veronika Kudermetova has had strong results lately and could make up ground in Tunisia. 

The way things are shaping up, it’s going to be a thrilling ride for that final, coveted position -- and the opportunity for all the prize money and ranking points it brings.

Here’s a look at the players in contention:

No.9 Maria Sakkari: She reached the final in Parma -- playing the last two matches in a single day -- added 179 points and leap-frogged over Veronika Kudermetova. Sakkari lost to Mayar Sherif in straight sets. Sakkari is the No.4 seed in Ostrava, with a first-round bye, and will face the winner between Karolina Pliskova and a qualifier in the second round.

No. 10 Veronika Kudermetova: Reached the semifinals two weeks ago in Tokyo and is the No. 2 seed behind Jabeur at the Jasmin Open Monastir in Tunisia. She’s also scheduled to play in next week’s San Diego Open, a WTA Tour 500 event.

Photo by Jimmie48/WTA

No. 11 Belinda Bencic: Jumped up two spots by reaching the semifinals at the Tallinn Open in Estonia. The No.6 seed in Ostrava, she is one of the few Top 20 players not scheduled to play in San Diego.

WTA Finals Top 8

Current standings

  1. Iga Swiatek 
  2. Ons Jabeur 
  3. Jessica Pegula (3,232)
  4. Coco Gauff (2,983)
  5. Caroline Garcia (2,896)
  6. Aryna Sabalenka (2,871)
  7. Daria Kasatkina (2,831)
  8. Simona Halep (2,661) (Out for season)

Bold=qualified

No.12 Paula Badosa: The No.2 seed in Ostrava, Badosa lost her first match in Tokyo and is looking to create some momentum.

No. 13 Madison Keys: Lost her first match in Tallinn but is in the field in Ostrava and San Diego.

No.14 Anett Kontaveit: Along with Sakkari, she was the big winner last week, moving up three spots by reaching the final in Tallinn, collecting 181 points. She fell there to Barbora Krejcikova 6-2, 6-3.

No.15 Beatriz Haddad Maia: Reached the quarterfinals in Tallinn and picked up 35 points. She is the No.7 seed in Ostrava and is also scheduled for San Diego.

Another player to watch is Liudmila Samsonova, who moved inside the Top 20 of the race after winning Tokyo. She will play both San Diego and Guadalajara.

The back end of the Agel Open 2022 could have a significant impact on who eventually earns a ticket to Fort Worth. If the seeds hold, the loaded quarterfinals would look like this: Swiatek-Haddad Maia, Kontaveit-Kasatkina, Bencic-Sakkari, Badosa-Jelena Ostapenko.

And then there’s San Diego, which has the same points on the line and features seven of the Top 10 players and 16 of the Top 20. The following week, it finally gets settled at the Guadalajara Open Akron, a Hologic WTA 1000 event.

In doubles, Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova have been joined by Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, who qualified by winning the title in Tokyo. No.3 Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok, No.4 Elise Mertens and Kudermetova and No.5 Pegula and Gauff are all in good position. On the bubble: No.9 Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic and No.10 Haddad Maia and Anna Danilina.