How Iga Swiatek can catch Aryna Sabalenka for No. 1 ranking

(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images) /

The WTA Finals are completing the group stage on Friday with the semifinals and finals set for Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The battle for year-end No. 1 is still real, though. Aryna Sabalenka currently sits at the top of the rankings, but Iga Swiatek has a decent chance of overtaking her by the end of the WTA Finals.

Iga Swiatek needs a little help to reach No. 1 again. She finished 2022 atop the WTA rankings and this year she had a streak of 75 straight weeks ranked No. 1. That streak is the 12th-longest stretch in WTA history. But after failing to make an overly deep run at the US Open, she lost her ranking to Sabalenka.

Iga Swiatek hasn’t yet lost a set at the WTA Finals and of the four sets she has played, two she won 6-0. She also seems to come into the WTA Finals ready to disrupt and have people take notice, and that goes for even off-court things. For instance, at the pre-tournament photo shoot, the seven other players involved in the Finals wore white while Iga Swiatek wore red. That had to be intentional.

Iga Swiatek could still overtake Aryna Sabalenka for year-end WTA No. 1

But she still needs to win her matches. On Friday, she will play Ons Jabeur to finish the group stage. Assuming Swiatek is victorious on Friday, she will play in the semifinals on Saturday followed by the final on Sunday. Swiatek must win the WTA Finals to have a chance to get her top ranking back.

For Aryna Sabalenka, her path is easier. To hold on to No. 1, Sabalenka simply has to make the final if Swiatek also keeps winning. If she loses before the final, that’s when the fun for tennis fans starts.

If you are a fan of Sabalenka, you just have to hope she makes the final. But if you are a fan of Iga Swiatek and want her to reclaim No. 1, you have to hope Sabalenka loses in the semifinals or group stage while Swiatek wins the tournament.

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