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This week, the WTA Finals are in Guadalajara, Mexico, with eight of the world’s best female players taking center stage in the year-end event. While no one is an outright favorite, Aryna Sabalenka (UTR Rating 13.18*) is the top seed with the highest UTR Rating, Karolina Pliskova (UTR Rating 12.88) has the most experience, and Anett Kontaveit (UTR Rating 13.12) is entering with the hottest winning streak.
The Teotihuacan Group will be up first on Wednesday, followed by the Chichen Itza Group playing on Thursday. Knockout semifinal rounds will follow the round-robin stage, and the final will take place on Nov. 17.
Let’s take a look at the groups with added intel from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS, a prediction and analytics application.
Teotihuacan Group (UTR Rating)
Anett Kontaveit (13.12)
Barbora Krejcikova (13.00)
Karolina Pliskova (12.88)
Garbine Muguruza (12.84)
Garbine Muguruza (UTR Rating 12.84) and Pliskova are the only two players who have competed in the WTA Finals before, and for Pliskova, this is her fifth appearance in a row. But according to UTR Rating, they land at No. 7 and No. 8 in the field.
It’s Kontaveit who has the highest UTR Rating in the Teotihuacan Group after an incredible last three months. She has the highest chance, per INSIGHTS, of finishing at the top of the group. The Estonian was the last to qualify for the WTA Finals after compiling a 26-2 record since August 22 and winning four WTA titles.
Kontaveit has never faced Barbora Krejcikova (UTR Rating 13.00) the winner of the 2021 French Open and the highest-ranked player in the Teotihuacan Group. INSIGHTS gives Kontaveit a better chance of winning at 59%, boosted by a three-month Trending UTR Rating of 13.19 compared to the Czech’s 12.95. Krejcikova and Kontaveit will kick off group stage play on Wednesday afternoon.
Kontaveit has even greater odds against two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza, at 65%, with a recent win over the Spaniard in Moscow on her way to the title. Muguruza will open on Wednesday night against Pliskova. Pliskova has the slight INSIGHTS edge against Muguruza with 52%, largely thanks to UTR Rating and three-month Trending UTR Rating. They haven’t played against each other since 2019.
Chichen Itza Group (UTR Rating)
Aryna Sabalenka (13.18)
Maria Sakkari (13.09)
Iga Swiatek (13.02)
Paula Badosa (12.97)
Sabalenka is the highest-ranked player in the field and enters as one of four women with over 40 wins in 2021 (along with Krejcikova, Kontaveit, and Badosa). In 2021, Sabalenka put together a 44-16 win-loss record and picked up two WTA titles (Abu Dhabi and Madrid). She has a recent win over Sakkari in the semifinals of Abu Dhabi, and per INSIGHTS, a tight 55% chance of beating the Greek.
Sabalenka has never faced off against 20-year-old Iga Swiatek (UTR Rating 13.02). INSIGHTS gives Sabalenka the edge at 59% with a higher three-month Trending UTR Rating, better record versus common opponents, and stronger best win.
Paula Badosa (UTR Rating 13.06) is the only player in this group to have a win over Sabalenka in 2021, having beaten her in three sets in Cincinnati. The 23-year-old Spaniard has enjoyed a career-best year with a 41-25 record and a huge title win in Indian Wells
This week marks the 50th edition of the year-end championship and the first time it’s being held in Mexico. Next year, the WTA Finals will move to a more permanent location in Shenzhen, China (through 2030).
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Nov. 9, 2021.