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Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari become only second trio to qualify for three consecutive seasons of WTA Finals

Published at :October 28, 2023 at 7:01 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : The Indian Express)

Mohammed Fazeel

Sabalenka and Swiatek head into the WTA Finals with the top spot up for grabs.

Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, and Maria Sakkari have etched their names in tennis history, becoming the first trio of players to qualify for the WTA Finals singles event for three consecutive seasons since another special trio a decade ago. This remarkable achievement mirrors the feat of Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Petra Kvitova, who also maintained a three-year streak between 2012 and 2014.

Sabalenka started the year on a high note by securing the Australian Open title. She also reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Sabalenka further made it to the finals of the US Open, where she faced a defeat against Coco Gauff.

Nonetheless, her exceptional run at the year’s final major event propelled her to claim the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek. Notably, Sabalenka is the first woman since Serena Williams in 2016 to reach the semifinal stage or better at all four Grand Slam events in a calendar year.

Iga Swiatek, the first Polish player to clinch the No. 1 ranking, had a strong 2022 campaign. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and emerged victorious at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows. The Polish sensation successfully defended her French Open crown and added a victory at the Shanghai Masters.

Swiatek also celebrated wins on home turf in Poland and secured victories in Germany and Qatar, amassing a total of five titles in the year. As she heads to the WTA Finals in Cancun, either she or Sabalenka has the chance to capture the year-end World No.1 ranking. Swiatek trails Sabalenka by just 630 points, making a deep run at the Finals a potential opportunity to reclaim the top spot.

Maria Sakkari has secured her second consecutive WTA Finals qualification. Karolina Muchova's withdrawal from the WTA Finals due to a wrist injury has paved the way for Sakkari, ranked ninth, to take her place. The Greek star triumphed at the Guadalajara Open and reached the finals of WTA 1000 events in Washington, Madrid, and Indian Wells.

The WTA Finals showcase the top eight singles players and doubles teams competing in a round-robin format. The singles champion earns the prestigious Billie Jean King Trophy, while the doubles champion claims the coveted Martina Navratilova Trophy.