Editor’s note: This week, the WTA Editorial team looks back at our top moments from the 2023 Hologic WTA Tour season. On Monday, we look back on the riveting rivalries that stole the spotlight this year.

The most important sporting rivalries are ones that pit contrasting styles or personalities against each other in frequent, high-stakes showdowns. Given the stakes, it's no surprise that this year's picks were dominated by the Hologic WTA Tour's Top 5, three of which reigned as major champions this season.

Read: Evert and Navratilova game-changing rivalry

Here are the rivalries that kept us coming back for more this season:

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Elena Rybakina


These two stepped up to the plate from the start of the season to become Iga Swiatek's greatest threats, and their individual rivalries with the Pole garnered the most attention.

I found the rivalry between the two challengers to have more intrigue, though.

Despite sharing an approach to the game in terms of tools and strategy -- big serves, first-strike power -- Sabalenka and Rybakina couldn't be more different in terms of demeanor. Sabalenka had won all their matches prior to 2023, but they split their contests this year with two wins apiece. With her heart on her sleeve, Sabalenka brought the fire and found an extra gear to win the Australian Open final as well as their WTA Finals rematch. But in between, Rybakina's icy, expressionless calm saw her execute a pair of clean wins in the Indian Wells final and Beijing quarterfinals. -- Alex Macpherson

Elena Rybakina vs. the Top 5


With her precision serving and flat baseline game, Rybakina was a fantastic foil throughout the season and helped shape how it ultimately all played out. If even one of her seven meetings against the Top 2 flips the other way, who knows, maybe the World No.1 ranking would have been locked up before Cancun either way. 

Only Swiatek had a better record against Top 5 opposition this year, and she only nipped Rybakina by running the table at the WTA Finals. Rybakina went into that tournament with a 6-1 record against Top 5 opposition this year, including a 3-0 record vs. Swiatek and 2-2 against Aryna Sabalenka. Her season-long consistency remains a work in progress, but she is a major match-up problem for the game’s best. -- Courtney Nguyen

Karolina Muchova vs. Aryna Sabalenka


Rybakina's performances against Swiatek and Sabalenka were indeed certainly impressive. Karolina Muchova's 2-0 record against Aryna Sabalenka this year was also an eye-opening rivalry, in which Muchova demonstrated she could grind out narrow wins to attain career milestones.

Muchova stuns Sabalenka again to advance to Cincinnati final

In one of the most gripping matches of the season, Muchova saved a match point before upsetting Sabalenka in the Roland Garros semifinals and claiming a spot in her first Grand Slam final. Then in the Cincinnati semifinals, Muchova came back from a set down to oust Sabalenka, clinching her Top 10 debut with that result.

"Similar to what we played few months back in Paris ... it could go both ways," Muchova said in Cincinnati. "It was just pure fight."

Sabalenka, who had won their only previous meeting in 2019, will surely be looking to flip a close match against Muchova in her favor in 2024. -- Jason Juzwiak

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Coco Gauff


This is cheating a bit by looking more forward than back. They met in the last singles final of the season’s last major, with Gauff emerging a winner in three sets. Sabalenka was a straight-sets winner in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. The hope here is that when they collide in 2024, they’ll both be playing their best and produce something like the 2022 Toronto Round of 16 match. Gauff won that one 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (4).

Both players are still getting better, even though they’re both ranked among the Top 3. They could meet a handful of times at the business end of the Slams and the WTA 1000s for years to come. -- Greg Garber