The Oct. 31-Nov. 7 WTA Finals in Fort Worth will offer a bonanza of prize money and rankings points in both singles and doubles. With only two weeks and three tournaments left in the regular season, there are a handful of spots still available in both categories.
The San Diego Open, which starts Monday, offers a potentially game-changing 470 points to its champion. That might be one of the reasons such a stellar field is gathered in Southern California.
Eight of the Top 10 players in the Race to the WTA Finals are in the San Diego draw. World No.1 Iga Swiatek, who has already secured her spot in Texas, is the top seed. No.2 Ons Jabeur, who has also qualified, is not playing this week.
Here are the next six in line: Jessica Pegula (3,232), Coco Gauff (2,983), Caroline Garcia (2,896), Daria Kasatkina (2,885), Aryna Sabalenka (2,871) and Veronika Kudermetova (2,606). All but Kudermetova, who withdrew with a right shoulder injury, are playing San Diego.
Note: Simona Halep (2,661) is technically among the elite eight but will not play again in 2022.
The contenders that improved their positions last week:
Daria Kasatkina: Moved to No.6 from No.7, ahead of Sabalenka, with a first-round win over Emma Raducanu in Ostrava.
Veronika Kudermetova: At No.9, she jumped over Sakkari for the final singles spot by advancing to the semifinals in Monastir before falling to Alizé Cornet, 6-4, 6-3. Kudermetova was entered in San Diego but withdrew after the draw was made due to a shoulder injury.
Anett Kontaveit: Despite losing her first match in Ostrava, she moved past Beatriz Haddad Maia into the 14th position. She will not play in San Diego due to injury.
Petra Kvitova: Upset Badosa, the No.2 seed in Ostrava, to move up to No.16, ahead of Danielle Collins.
Ekaterina Alexandrova: The Seoul champion moved up two spots, to No.18, just ahead of Jelena Ostapenko, by reaching the semifinals in Ostrava before losing to Swiatek.
Elena Rybakina: Jumped up one spot to No.21 with three wins in the Czech Republic -- beating Madison Keys, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Kvitova -- before falling in the semifinals to Barbora Krejcikova, who sits at No.20. Krejcikova withdrew from this week’s WTA 250 event in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with a left wrist injury.
A number of contenders failed to capitalize. Sakkari, Badosa and Haddad Maia all lost their first matches in Ostrava. Meanwhile, Belinda Bencic won her first-round match and then granted Krejcikova a walkover.
Most of the contenders will have one more opportunity to pick up points, in the season’s final WTA 1000 event, next week in Guadalajara.