Editor's note: This week, we looked at the road each of the eight singles players and eight doubles teams took to qualify for this year's GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun in Mexico.


Monday: No.1 Sabalenka | No.2 Swiatek

Tuesday: No.3 Gauff | No.4 Rybakina

Wednesday: No.5 Pegula | No.6 Jabeur

Thursday: No. 7 Vondrousova | No.8 Sakkari 


Monday: No.1 Gauff and Pegula | No.2 Hunter and Mertens

Tuesday: No.3 Aoyama and Shibahara | No.4 Krejcikova and Siniakova

Wednesday: No.5 Krawczyk and Schuurs | No.6 Siegemund and Zvonareva

Thursday: No.7 Dabrowski and Routliffe | No.8 Melichar-Martinez and Perez

Season at a glance

It was only 15 months ago that Elena Rybakina powered through a Wimbledon title run that surprised quite a few pundits. But if there were any doubts she would back up that performance, she quickly put them to rest this season on her way to her first WTA Finals qualification.

Right away, Rybakina added to her Grand Slam final tally, reaching the championship match at the Australian Open, where she narrowly lost to Aryna Sabalenka.

"Now I have more confidence of course, even after this final," Rybakina said at the end of her Australian Open run. "I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come."

Rybakina spoke those results into existence, as her next big trophy wasn't far away at all. Rybakina won the first WTA 1000 title of her career, at Indian Wells in March, defeating then-World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the semifinals before exacting revenge over Sabalenka in the final.

Rybakina continued to make her way through the hard courts in March, coming within one victory of completing the "Sunshine Double" before falling to Petra Kvitova in the Miami final.

By this point, Rybakina had seen her ranking skyrocket from outside the Top 20 at the start of the year to well inside the Top 10. She maintained a Top 2 position in the Race to the WTA Finals by claiming another WTA 1000 title on the clay courts of Rome.

Season highlights:

  • Won the first two WTA 1000 titles of her career at Indian Wells and Rome, and also made the WTA 1000 Miami final
  • Reached her second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open
  • Won 27 matches at WTA 1000 events this season -- tied with Iga Swiatek for the most on tour in 2023
  • Peaked at a career-high ranking of No.3
  • Went 4-0 against current World No.1 players this year -- defeated Swiatek three times when she was ranked No.1, and added a win over new No.1 Sabalenka in Beijing

Ailments and inconsistency popped up in the second half of Rybakina's season, but because of her hot start to the season, she was still able to crack the Top 3 of the WTA singles rankings for the first time and move toward her first trip to the WTA Finals.

Rybakina also continued to save some of her strongest form for WTA 1000 events, reaching the semifinals in Montreal and Beijing. Rybakina won 27 matches at WTA 1000 events this year, tied with Iga Swiatek for the most on tour.

Rybakina's history of peaking at the biggest events and against the best players bodes well for her WTA Finals debut, as she seeks to bookend the year with her best level.

"Of course, all the focus is going to the WTA Finals," Rybakina said while her Beijing run neared its conclusion.

With a 6-2 record against Top 10 players this year, a focused Rybakina will be an extremely dangerous opponent for anyone she faces in Cancun.