It all comes to a head on Sunday.

Three finals -- at the Brisbane International, the ASB Classic in Auckland and the United Cup in Sydney. Who’s in action?

Allow us to drop a few names: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina -- who happen to be the four highest-ranked players on the Hologic WTA Tour.

In Brisbane, it’s a throwback to last year’s Australian Open final, Sabalenka versus Rybakina. In Auckland, Gauff faces Elina Svitolina. And at the United Cup in Sydney, Swiatek leads Poland against Germany.

How about that for the end of the season’s first week?

It’s the first time in more than seven years that the No.1 and No.2 seeds met in two finals the same week and only the sixth time this century.

Let’s break it down:

United Cup

What happens when a great champion drops the first set?

“You can kind of try to focus more,” Iga Swiatek said. “I guess if you’re going to keep trying, you’re never going to have regrets that you haven’t done that. Today I needed to lose a set, which is not perfect, but still, the most important thing for me is that I came back.”

Swiatek rallied to defeat Caroline Garcia 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, sending Poland into the United Cup finals against Germany. It’s the No.1 seed vs. No.16, opposite ends of the seeding spectrum, but now all things are equal.

Poland defeated France 3-0 before Germany scored a late, thrilling 2-1 win over home-grown Australia, when Laura Siegemund and Alexander Zverev won in mixed doubles in a 15-13 tiebreak.

The tie required nearly nine hours.

Poland is going to be tough to beat. Swiatek has now won each time she’s taken the court, 4-0 in singles and 2-0 in mixed doubles with Hubert Hurkacz.

Germany counters with Angelique Kerber, who won her first win of the season, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) over Ajla Tomljanovic. She lost the only previous match against Swiatek.

Hurkacz, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Adrian Mannarino, faces Alexander Zverev, who fell to Alex de Minaur in three sets.

If the singles are split, it comes down to mixed doubles. Both teams -- Hurkacz/Swiatek and Siegemund/Zverev -- are 2-0.

Schedule of play

  • I. Swiatek (POL) vs. A. Kerber (GER), 5:30 p.m. in Sydney (Sunday, 1:30 a.m. ET) 
  • H. Hurkacz (POL) vs. A. Zverev (GER), 7 p.m. 
  • I. Swiatek (POL) / H. Hurkacz (POL) vs. L. Siegemund (GER) / M. Marterer (GER), to follow


At the moment, this might be the WTA Tour’s best rivalry. These two are hard-hitting, aggressive players who came into their own last year.

To get here, Sabalenka defeated No.8 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-4 and Rybakina was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Czech teenager Linda Noskova in 63 minutes.

Sabalenka is seeking her 16th consecutive victory in Australia.

“Last year was incredible year for me,” Sabalenka told reporters afterward. “I think I had enough time to recharge, some time off. Great preseason, enough time without playing any tournaments. Here I am ready to go and full of energy.

“Yeah, hopefully I can just keep it up.”

Sabalenka has dropped 15 games in four matches; Rybakina has lost only 12.

“It’s unusual to be not so many hours on the court for the whole week,” Rybakina said. “But I think it’s good for me because I can be fresh. I didn’t get enough hours the previous week because I was sick again, so I think that the most important thing for me is to keep on playing matches.”

This is the 15th career final for Rybakina and her fourth in Australia.

Sabalenka holds a 5-2 head-to-head advantage but last year it was 2-2 in some high-profile meetings. 

Sabalenka won the Australian Open final 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and a round-robin match at the WTA Finals in Cancun, by the eerily similar score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Rybakina took the two matches in between, prevailing in the Indian Wells final and the Beijing quarterfinals in straight sets.

As usual, it will likely come down to serving -- and returning. Sabalenka had 10 aces against Azarenka, while Rybakina hit eight against Noskova.

“We both serving really well, playing really super aggressive tennis,” Sabalenka said. “We both put each other under so much pressure. I think that’s why it makes our matches really, really great battles.”

Schedule of play

  • A. Sabalenka vs. E. Rybakina, 2:30 p.m. in Brisbane (Saturday, 11:30 p.m. ET)


Count Gauff as another super-fast starter in the heat of the Australasian summer. As the reigning champion, she’s working on a nine-match win streak at the ASB Classic.

Gauff defeated fellow American Emma Navarro 6-3, 6-1, weathering a modest rain delay. The 19-year-old has dropped 15 games in four matches.

Meanwhile, Svitolina was stretched to the maximum in defeating Wang Xiyu 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. She needed three sets and nearly three hours to get past Emma Raducanu in the second round.

Svitolina defeats Wang Xiyu in Auckland to make first final since May

With a decade between them, it’s advantage, Gauff.

“I’m happy that I’ve had these tough matches beginning of the year,” Svitolina said. “I went through them. Tomorrow is another challenge. Coco’s been playing well. It’s going to be a big challenge for me. Recover, enjoy the win and just get ready for tomorrow.”

Svitolina beat Gauff in their only previous meeting, 6-4, 6-3, in the second round of the 2021 Australian Open.

“Elina, she’s a veteran, she’s been out here for awhile and playing great tennis,” Gauff said. “Coming back as a mom, she’s a great player. Hopefully I can be a little bit better.”

Schedule of play

  • C. Gauff vs. E. Svitolina, 5 p.m. in Auckland (Saturday, 11 p.m. ET)