The year-end No.1 ranking will come down to the final tournament of the Hologic WTA Tour season next week at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun. Reigning No.1 Aryna Sabalenka will look to fend off one final surge from No.2 Iga Swiatek and finish the year in the top spot.
Sabalenka goes into Cancun with 8,425 points on the Race to the WTA Finals leaderboard. With 7,795 points, Swiatek trails by 630 points. Coco Gauff, who sits at No.3, trails Sabalenka by 2,470 points and is out of contention for the year-end No.1.
No.1 Scenarios: Sabalenka vs. Swiatek
Sabalenka is in control of her own No.1 fate. She can secure the year-end No.1 by reaching the final with a 2-1 record in group play, regardless of Swiatek's results.
- If Swiatek loses a round-robin match, Sabalenka can secure No.1 by going undefeated in round-robin play or reaching the final
- If Swiatek loses two round-robin matches, Sabalenka can secure No.1 with a 2-1 round-robin record
Assuming Sabalenka plays all three of her group matches, Swiatek must make the final to have a chance to finish at No.1.
- If Sabalenka goes 0-3 in group play, then Swiatek would need to win the title or reach the final with a 3-0 group record
- If Sabalenka goes 1-2 in group play, then Swiatek would need to win the title
- If Sabalenka goes 2-1 in group play, then Swiatek would need to win the title with at least two round-robin wins
- If Sabalenka goes 3-0 in group play, then Swiatek would need to run the table, winning the title with a 3-0 group record.
A champion at the Australian Open, Madrid and Adelaide this season, Sabalenka became the 29th World No.1 after her run to the US Open final in September. The 25-year-old's ascension ended Swiatek's 75-week reign as a first-time No.1, a position she had held since April of 2022.
Swiatek finished the WTA regular season strong, capturing her tour-leading fifth title of the year, at the China Open in Beijing. Along with titles in Doha, Stuttgart, Roland Garros and Warsaw, Swiatek goes into the WTA Finals leading the tour in match-wins with 63.
Both players have qualified for the third consecutive WTA Finals. Seeded No.1 and No.2, respectively, the earliest they could meet is the semifinals.
Last year in Fort Worth, Sabalenka and Swiatek advanced to the knockout round for the first time. In the semifinals, Sabalenka snapped a four-match losing streak to Swiatek, winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
They have played twice this season, with both matches coming in clay-court finals. Swiatek bested Sabalenka in straight sets to defend her Stuttgart title. Sabalenka avenged the loss two weeks later in a three-set thriller to win Madrid.
The year-end doubles No.1 is also in play in Cancun. Five of the teams competing at this year's WTA Finals will have at least one team member with a chance to finish in the top spot:
- Jessica Pegula & Coco Gauff
- Storm Hunter (with Mertens)
- Gabriela Dabrowski (with Routliffe)
- Katerina Siniakova (with Krejcikova)
- Shuko Aoyama (with Shibahara)