WTA Finals 2023 format – how does the tournament work?

The tennis year for the women’s is nearly over and we’re about to witness the last high-profile event of the year. The world’s top 8 female tennis players gather together in Cancun, Mexico for what promises to be one of the most exciting WTA Finals in decades. Aryna Sabalenka can finish the year as the world number 1 for the first time in her career. For that, she needs to secure at least two wins. Can Iga Swiatek reclaim the top spot? Who will win the prestigious trophy? We’ll find all that in the next 7 days but now let’s look at the WTA Finals format and what makes it different to most tournaments.

WTA Finals Caroline Garcia
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WTA Finals format and what makes it different from other tournaments

The WTA Finals is not an elimination tournament as all other competitions on the WTA calendar are. The WTA Finals prize money and points distribution are based on matches played. As we have the world’s elite contesting the format guarantees that every player will play a minimum of three matches.

Both the singles and doubles competition at the WTA Finals is played in a round-robin format.

WTA Finals group stages explained

The WTA Finals group stages see the eight athletes split into two groups of four by a random draw for six of the eight, while the top two-seed players are put by default in opposite groups.

In each group, the players face each other in order with everyone playing three guaranteed matches. Eventually, the top two players in each of the groups progress through to the semifinals.

The conditions and the format are absolutely the same for the doubles competition.

WTA Finals format for semifinals and final explained

The top two finishers from each group advance to the semifinals where the winner of each group faces the player, or team as is the case in the doubles, that has finished second in the other group.

From that point on the format is standard so the winners of the semifinals face each other in one final showdown for the right to be crowned champion of champions.

Gauff scaled
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Frequently asked questions about the WTA Finals

  • Where I can watch the 2023 WTA Finals? The tournament will be broadcasted worldwide and in over 100 countries and territories so the options for viewers are endless. The best way to find out which viewing option suits your needs and location is to check our extended ‘Where to watch WTA Finals’ guide.
  • When were the WTA Finals founded? The WTA Finals were played for the first time in 1972. So, this makes the tournament 51 years old.
  • Who has the most WTA Finals titles? That would be the legendary Martina Navratilova with her 8 WTA Finals triumphs. The top 3 are completed by Steffi Graf and Serena Williams, who have won the trophy 5 times each.

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