The Race is still on for coveted singles spots at the WTA Finals. The Guadalajara Open Akron is the final regular-season tournament on the Hologic WTA Tour. At the start of the week, 17 players were vying for five remaining spots at the WTA Finals. After three days of play, the field of contenders and opportunities has narrowed dramatically, down to seven players vying for only three places in Fort Worth.
Day 4 Update: With Jelena Ostapenko's loss to Veronika Kudermetova in the Round of 16 on Thursday, the Latvian is eliminated from contention. Madison Keys lost to Victoria Azarenka in three sets, eliminating the American from the Race. The result means both Daria Kasatkina and Aryna Sabalenka have qualified. There are now three players vying for the last qualifying spot.
Jessica Pegula, who has already qualified for the singles field (and the doubles field with Coco Gauff) ended the qualifying hopes of Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
In their second-round showdown, Pegula saved three match points in the third-set tiebreak before prevailing 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) in just over two hours.
Belinda Bencic (l. Stephens) and Paula Badosa (ret. Azarenka) also bowed out of the Race on Wednesday. And despite her win over Aryna Sabalenka, Liudmila Samsonova was mathematically eliminated from contention after Veronika Kudermetova defeated Donna Vekic.
This time last season, Pegula was ranked World No.21, but the American is now a Top 5 player after a breakthrough 2022, which saw her reach three Grand Slam quarterfinals and the final at WTA 1000 Madrid.
Pegula will continue on her quest for her first title of the year this week when she faces 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the Round of 16. They have split their two previous meetings, with Pegula winning their most recent clash at Madrid this year.
So how does the field stack up right now?
No.1 Iga Swiatek
No.2 Ons Jabeur
No.5 Jessica Pegula
No.7 Coco Gauff
No.10 Caroline Garcia
No.4 Aryna Sabalenka
No.11 Daria Kasatkina
Swiatek and Jabeur clinched their berth to the Finals following their run to the US Open final. Swiatek made her debut last year, while Jabeur will be making her first appearance in the season-ending championship. Last week in San Diego, Pegula joined them as the third qualifier and is set to make her first appearance.
2005 & 1994 - Cori Gauff is the first player to reach the WTA Finals before turning 19 since Maria Sharapova in 2005 and first American since Lindsay Davenport in 1994. Resplendent.@WTA @WTA_insider @WTAGuadalajara pic.twitter.com/PkcRZLKT5U— OptaAce (@OptaAce) October 19, 2022
Gauff qualified Wednesday after Sabalenka's loss to Samsonova, and she backed that up with an opening win over Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Gauff and Pegula have also qualified as a doubles team; only nine previous times since the current round-robin format began in 2003 has a player reached the WTA Finals in singles and doubles in the same year.
Caroline Garcia also qualified on Wednesday after Samsonova's defeat of Sabalenka. Garcia, who won her opening match in Guadalajara in a third-set tiebreak over Rebecca Marino, will be making her second singles appearance at the WTA Finals. She made her WTA Finals debut in 2017.
5 - Caroline Garcia will take part to the WTA Finals five years after her first appearance in 2017: only Amy Frazier (8 years), Barbara Paulus and Judith Wiesner (6 each) had a longer wait between the first two WTA Finals appearances. Back.@WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/j5fyPMBLaW— OptaAce (@OptaAce) October 19, 2022
Who’s still alive
Veronika Kudermetova (Race No.9): Kudermetova advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday with a straight-set win over Jelena Ostapenko. She will face either Maria Sakkari or Danielle Collins on Friday.
Maria Sakkari (Race No.10): Faces No.14 seed Danielle Collins in the Round of 16. Sakkari leads the head-to-head 1-0.
Danielle Collins (Race No.14): Must reach at least the final for a chance to qualify. Faces No.4 seed Maria Sakkari in the Round of 16.
Note: Race rankings based on the start of the tournament. Given the fluidity of results, scenarios are subject to change as play gets underway on Day 4.
This post was updated after the results of the day session on Day 4.