Aryna Sabalenka is the current world No.1 and has held that position since September 11th following the conclusion of the US Open. She is only the second player in the Open Era from her country to have topped the standings after Victoria Azarenka. Before Sabalenka’s rise to the top spot, Iga Swiatek was world No.1 for 75 weeks in a row.
Heading into the WTA Finals, Sabalenka currently has a 630-point lead over Swiatek (8425 points against 7795 points). The most straightforward way she can secure the year-end honor is by winning two out of her three group matches and reaching the final. If she does this, it would be mathematically impossible for Swiatek to take over from her. Another way she can claim the year-end No.1 would be if Swiatek loses one of her round-robin matches and Sabalenka doesn’t lose any or reach the final. If the Pole loses two round-robin matches, she will need to win two of hers.
As for Swiatek, her route back to No.1 very much depends on how her rival fairs. There are four different scenarios where the 22-year-old could regain the position which is:-
If Sabalenka wins no matches in the group stages, Swiatek must win the title or reach the final without losing a match.
If Sabalenka wins one match in the group stages, Swiatek needs to win the title.
If Sabalenka wins two matches in the group stages, Swiatek needs to claim the title with at least two round-robin wins in her favor.
If Sabalenka goes 3-0 in the group stages, Swiatek must claim the title without losing a match.
Looking at their previous records at the WTA Finals, Sabalenka is the only one of the two to have previously reached the title match. In 2022 she was runner-up to Caroline Garcia in what was only her second appearance at the event. 12 months before that, she failed to progress beyond the group stages.
Meanwhile, Swiatek will also be making her third appearance at the tournament. Her best run was to the semi-finals last year where she was knocked out of the event by Sabalenka in three sets.
The draw for the WTA Finals will be held on Friday with the eight participants being split into two groups of four. The top two players of each group will then progress to the semi-finals. This year’s tournament is being held in the Mexican city of Cancun with the first match getting underway on Sunday.