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We are on the verge of witnessing another thrilling end to the 2023 WTA season. As you’ve no doubt heard, the WTA Finals is right around the corner, and the best 8 performers from the 2023 season are set to do battle in Cancun. In case you wish to either watch on TV or tune in for the results, this event is scheduled to begin on Sunday, October 29th. And following a short series of group stage games, the event will then progress into the semis and finals, with the tournament match set to be held on Sunday, November 5th.
Of course, this gives us a week of top-level WTA tennis to look forward to. However, before the event gets started, I felt it appropriate to put together a 2023 WTA Finals preview for tennis fans to sharpen up on several key areas. These include things like the confirmed competitors, event format, top seeds, who could win the event, and more.
So, if you are interested in learning a little bit more about the WTA Finals 2023, let’s get the ball rolling now.
WTA Finals 2023 – the confirmed players
Given that this is the end-of-year finals on the WTA Tour, as you’ve no doubt guessed, the top players in the game will be there. Or, to be more specific, the players who racked up the most WTA points in qualifying tournaments will be competing, which leads to a very strong group of players this year. To give you the exact list of confirmed players for the WTA Finals, let me supply you with the names right now:
- Aryna Sabalenka
- Iga Swiatek
- Coco Gauff
- Elena Rybakina
- Jessica Pegula
- Ons Jabeur
- Marketa Vondrousova
- Maria Sakkari
Note that I have supplied this list in order of their position coming into the event. This means that Aryna Sabalenka qualified in first position with 8425 points to her name, while Maria Sakkari qualified in eighth position following the withdrawal of Karolina Muchova. To be precise, Sakkari had 3245 points compared to Muchova’s 3650, but sadly, the 27-year-old Czech has withdrawn from the 2023 WTA Finals through injury.
This is a bit of a lifeline for the Greek, and I’m sure she will be looking to make the most of this opportunity.
2023 WTA Finals – round-robin format
As you may already know, the WTA Finals are unlike any other individual event played throughout the season. For starters, there are only eight players involved in the tournament, which makes it an incredibly exclusive tournament. Then again, it is the end-of-year finals, so the prestige of this event speaks for itself. As for the draw, the eight confirmed players are divided into two groups to kick things off.
Each group has four players involved, and the number one and two seeds are separated into Group A and Group B. Other than that, we won’t know where the remaining players are placed until the official draw is held, which won’t take place until later this evening (Friday, October 27th).
The knockout stages for the WTA Finals 2023
Given that four players are put into each of the two groups, in line with regular ‘round robin’ formats, this means that each individual plays three group matches. Of course, this means one match is played against each of the other three players, and the results of these matches determine whether they qualify or not. In a nutshell, the top two players from each group make it through to the semi-finals. As for what the format dictates at this stage, the number one player from Group A will play the number two player from Group B, and vice versa.
This is designed to keep the semi-finals as fair as possible, and at this point, a loss means that the tournament is over. So really, the gloves are off once we reach the semis of the 2023 WTA Finals, and this is where things really get interesting.
What’s at stake for the winner?
Since the 2023 WTA Finals is such a high-profile event, there is some serious prize money involved here. This year, the complete prize pool for the tournament is $9 million, which is a rather unbelievable increase from the $5 million prize pool seen in 2022. As for what the singles winner stands to get from this prize pool, they will walk away with close to $1.5 million. And if they pull off the perfect tournament, meaning that they go undefeated, this prize money is doubled to just over $3 million.
Of course, it’s not all about the money either. This time around, the 2023 WTA Finals will determine who finishes as the year-end number one. On that note, just two players are in the running – Swiatek and Sabalenka.
What a final that would be!
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