Sakkari is among those looking to close the gap in the race for the WTA Finals

Now, This gets interesting.

With just three weeks left in the regular season, the race for the WTA Finals is heating up. This week’s Agel Open 2022 in Ostrava, Czech Republic and Monastir, Tunisia should bring some clarity – or maybe not.

Draw Ostrava: Swiatek back in action, Raducanu meets Kasatkina in the opening game

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, the top seed in Ostrava, along with No. 2 Ons Jabeur, has already qualified for the year-end championships in Fort Worth, Texas. And while those next in line – Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka – are in a solid position, things are fluid just below.

Daria Kasatkina, No. 5 in Ostrava, is in seventh place of the elite eighth. Technically, Simona Halep occupies the No. 8 position, but she’s already ruled herself out for the rest of the season.

This week’s results

Veronika Kudermetova has had strong results lately and could gain ground in Tunisia.

As things play out, it’s going to be an exciting ride for that last coveted position – and a shot at all that prize money and leaderboard points that come with it.

Here’s a look at the players in the competition:

No.9 Maria Sakkari: She reached the final in Parma – played the last two games in a single day – added 179 points and passed Veronika Kudermetova. Sakkari lost to Mayar Sherif in straight sentences. Sakkari is No. 4 in Ostrava with a bye in the first round and meets the winner in the second round between Karolina Pliskova and a qualifier.

No. 10 Veronica Kudermetova: Reached the semifinals in Tokyo two weeks ago and is No. 2 behind Jabeur at the Jasmin Open Monastir in Tunisia. She is also scheduled to play at the San Diego Open, a WTA Tour 500 event, next week.

#11 Belinda Bencic: Moved up two places by reaching the semi-finals at the Tallinn Open in Estonia. No. 6 in Ostrava, she is one of the few top 20 players who won’t play in San Diego.

Top 8 of the WTA Finals

Current status

  1. Iga Swiatek
  2. Ons Jabeur
  3. Jessica Pegula (3,232)
  4. Coco Gauff (2,983)
  5. Caroline Garcia (2,896)
  6. Arina Sabalenka (2,871)
  7. Daria Kasatkina (2,831)
  8. Simona Halep (2,661) (Out for season)

Fat = qualified

#12 Paula Badosa: Badosa, the No. 2 in Ostrava, lost her first match in Tokyo and is trying to build some momentum.

#13 Madison Key: Lost her first game in Tallinn but is fielded in Ostrava and San Diego.

No.14 Anett Kontaveit: Along with Sakkari, she was the big winner last week, moving up three places and amassing 181 points by reaching the final in Tallinn. There she lost to Barbora Krejcikova 6:2, 6:3.

No.15 Beatriz Haddad Maia: Reached the quarterfinals in Tallinn and collected 35 points. She is No. 7 in Ostrava and is also scheduled for San Diego.

Another player to watch is Liudmila Samsonova, who moved into the top 20 of the race after winning in Tokyo. She will play in both San Diego and Guadalajara.

The back end of the 2022 Agel Open could have a significant impact on who eventually earns a ticket to Fort Worth. If the seeds hold, the loaded quarterfinals would look like this: Swiatek-Haddad Maia, Kontaveit-Kasatkina, Bencic-Sakkari, Badosa-Jelena Ostapenko.

And then there’s San Diego, which has the same points on the line and has seven of the top 10 players and 16 of the top 20 players. The following week it will be finally decided at the Guadalajara Open Akron, a Hologic WTA 1000 event.

In doubles, Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova were joined by Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, who qualified by winning the title in Tokyo. Nos. 3 Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok, Nos. 4 Elise Mertens and Kudermetova, and Nos. 5 Pegula and Gauff are all in good positions. On the bladder: No. 9 Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic and No. 10 Haddad Maia and Anna Danilina.

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