Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek secured their place in the last four of the WTA Finals in Cancun on Friday, joining Jessica Pegula who had clinched first place in the semifinals on Tuesday.
The world No.1 Sabalenka advanced to the semis for the second consecutive year with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory over Elena Rybakina in a match that was interrupted by stormy weather on Thursday night. With the resumption a day later, Rybakina wasted no time, swiftly leveling the tie within mere minutes, but it was Sabalenka who ultimately prevailed.
With a 2-1 win-loss record, Sabalenka ranks second in the Bacalar Group, behind Jessica Pegula who has made the semifinals undefeated, 3-0.
Sabalenka’s next opponent will be none other than the player she replaced atop the WTA rankings in September, No.2 Iga Swiatek. The year-end No.1 ranking is on the line in Cancun — if Sabalenka wins their semifinal matchup, she will retain the top spot, while Swiatek needs to win the title to return to the coveted position.
Swiatek leads the Chetumal Group with a 3-0 record, including a 6-1 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur in windy and rainy conditions on Friday. The second player from this group that made the semifinals is Coco Gauff, who battled past Marketa Vondrousova 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3. The American overcame 17 double faults and the position of being four points from defeat in difficult weather conditions, saying that mental toughness is the biggest thing she’s pleased with.
Vondrousova is the only Grand Slam champion from 2023 who hasn’t advanced to the final four of the WTA Finals in Cancun.
Gauff’s semifinal opponent will be her doubles partner Jessica Pegula, with whom she lost in the doubles round-robin stage of the Mahahual Group at the season-ending tournament.