Game, Set, World-class matchups
Shocking upset leads to surprising championship matchup at WTA Finals in Fort Worth
The championship tennis match is set for the WTA Finals at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena on Monday, November 7 - and it’s a matchup few might have seen coming.
No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka upset world No. 1 and top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland in an often lopsided three-set semifinal match Sunday night. Sabalenka will play for the title against No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia of France, who had defeated No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in their semifinal meeting Sunday afternoon.
Sabalenka and Swiatek battled in a 2-hour-and-7-minute semifinal match in front of one of the largest Fort Worth crowds of the tournament, which began October 31. In front of a largely pro-Swiatek audience (as evidenced by the number of red and white Polish flags, T-shirts, scarves, and signs), Sabalenka prevailed 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.
"She deserves the win and congrats to her," Swiatek said after the match.
Swiatek had dominated the WTA Finals as she’d dominated the year in women’s tennis - she had not yet dropped a set in the tournament. She ends the year with a 67-9 win-loss record, and eight singles titles, including two Grand Slams.
Iga Swiatek is the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world. Al Bello/Getty Images
"On one hand I'm sad that I lost, but on the other hand I have one more day off. That's something on a bright side," Swiatek said. "This season has been so intense and I'm so proud of myself that I could play so well till the end of it."
Details of the Sabalenka-Swiatek match can be found here.
The WTA Finals are the prestigious year-end finale for the Women’s Tennis Association, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world.
Fort Worth is hosting the tournament for the first time, after it was moved from Shenzhen, China.
The total prize money pool is $5 million.
Caroline Garcia defeated Maria Sakkari in the semifinal round.Getty Images
"It's the last match of the season and I'm ready to give everything I have," Sabalenka said of the final.
Of the championship, Garcia said, "I would like to put pressure on her obviously, and to be able to use [her] ball as well. But I will try to play my game."
The championship singles match between Garcia and Sabalenka will take place at 8 pm Monday, November 7 at Dickies Arena.
It will follow the championship doubles match featuring defending champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova against Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens, which begins at 5:30 pm.
More information on the WTA Finals is here and tickets to the championship matches are here.