Garbine Muguruza came out on top in an all-Spanish encounter with Paula Badosa to put herself within a match of winning a maiden WTA Finals title.

The highest-ranked player left in the competition, former world number one Muguruza triumphed 6-3 6-3 over the Indian Wells champion on Tuesday in Guadalajara.

Muguruza, who made the semi-final stage back in 2015, is hoping to become the first Spanish player to win the event, and will face Maria Sakkari or Anett Kontaveit in the final.

She took the first set in 36 minutes, taking two of the three break points she was offered as she set the tone for a dominant performance.

Badosa struggled again on serve early in the second set, giving Muguruza the chance to nose ahead.

To Badosa's frustration, three break points went begging in the third game as she missed the opportunity for an immediate response, and Muguruza never looked likely to offer up another opening as she claimed to a convincing win, reaching a fifth final of the season.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Badosa – 20/30
Muguruza – 17/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Badosa – 3/6
Muguruza – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Badosa – 0/3
Muguruza – 3/11

Maria Sakkari powered past Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Finals at the expense of the top seed.

Sakkari and Belarusian star Sabalenka went head-to-head in the final round-robin contest in Group Chichen Itza, with a semi-final berth up for grabs on Monday.

In her WTA Finals debut, fourth seed Sakkari won the final five games of the match to eliminate Sabalenka and earn a date with Anett Kontaveit.

Sabalenka had the chance to serve for the opening set at 5-3 but Sakkari fought back, saving a set point in her own service game to force a tie-break, which the Greek star raced away with.

The second set followed a similar theme – Sabalenka twice serving to send the match into a decider at 5-4 and 6-5, however, Sakkari made life difficult for her opponent.

Another tie-break was required, though this time Sabalenka outlasted Sakkari on her fourth set point after two hours of gruelling tennis.

Sabalenka proved her own worst enemy in the third set after tallying 10 double-faults as Sakkari rallied from 3-1 down to eventually upstage the Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist.

Having ended the match with 19 double-faults, Sabalenka departed the year-ending championship with 38 in total – only Oceane Dodin in Palermo (62) made more double-faults in a single WTA Tour tournament this season.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS  

Sakkari – 27/36
Sabalenka – 29/56

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sakkari – 8/8
Sabalenka – 7/19

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sakkari – 8/13
Sabalenka – 6/12

Novak Djokovic "feels amazing" after surpassing Pete Sampras for the year-end number one record on the ATP Tour.

Djokovic was presented with the trophy for finishing the year ranked number one for the seventh time after defeating Casper Ruud 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in his ATP Finals opener on Monday, breaking a tie with idol Sampras.

A 20-time grand slam champion – a joint record held alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Djokovic revelled in his latest achievement.

"It feels amazing and it feels even better when you win a match and then get your hands on the trophy that I have been blessed to lift seven times," Djokovic said in Turin.

"[I have won] one more than Pete Sampras, who was my childhood hero. He was the one that got me into tennis. He was also an inspiration to me and I dreamt of being a Wimbledon champion and World No. 1 like he was.

"Fast forwarding to today, it is quite amazing to be in this position. I am very grateful. It is something I am very much appreciating and not taking for granted."

World number one Djokovic is looking for his sixth ATP Finals title, though his last success came in 2016.

Djokovic produced a confident performance in his opening match against Ruud, dropping just four points behind his first serve and rallying from a break down in a tight opening set.

The top seed – who tied Ivan Lendl for second-most wins (39) in the history of the ATP Finals – will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev in the Green Group.

"It was a really terrible start, but also funny because I’m still trying to figure out what happened," Djokovic said. "Casper started strong. He was serving well. The altitude, fast court, fast balls – it favours big servers. I knew he had a solid serve, but maybe not as good as Medvedev or Zverev. 

"He did positively surprise me with this serve, particularly in the first set. I just managed to read it better in the second set. But it was a close one."

Djokovic, meanwhile, expressed his shock amid the unknown whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has opened an investigation into Peng's sexual assault allegations against a former China leader.

Shuai, 35, posted on Chinese social media site Weibo allegations against Zhang Gaoli – the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee – claiming he had forced her to have sexual relations with him.

In the post, published on Tuesday before subsequently being deleted, the 2013 Wimbledon doubles champion alleged that the pair had extramarital relations and she had developed feelings for him.

All of Peng's content has since been removed from Weibo and numerous reports suggest she has not been seen in recent days.

"I did hear about it a week ago. Honestly, it's shocking that she's missing, more so that it's someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times," said Djokovic.

"It's not much more to say than hope that she will be found, that she's okay. It's terrible … I can imagine just how her family feels that she's missing."

Paula Badosa's winning start at the WTA Finals came to an end as she prepared for her semi-final with a straight-sets defeat to Iga Swiatek in a group-stage dead rubber.

Badosa, playing on her 24th birthday, was already assured of a last-four meeting with fellow Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, while two defeats had seen Swiatek eliminated.

A low-stakes encounter allowed both women to play with a little freedom, although Swiatek was a deserving 7-5 6-4 winner.

The pair traded early breaks in the opener, with Badosa immediately ceding her initial lead and finding herself on the back foot for the remainder of the set.

The semi-finalist survived a set point on her serve at 5-4 but had no answer when Swiatek went on the offensive again two games later, stepping forward with a stunning backhand to create her opportunity before retreating to the back of the court to put her forehand to good use and leave Badosa rooted once more.

Badosa again broke first in the second and this time looked to have control when she fought off seven break points to this time consolidate her lead in a gripping 12-minute game.

But Swiatek would not relent, breaking at the first attempt next time with powerful hitting from the centre of the court. Then a wayward Badosa backhand teed up match point for the 20-year-old, whose smart return completed the job.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Swiatek– 16/20
Badosa – 18/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Swiatek – 0/3
Badosa– 5/5

BREAK POINTS WON 

Swiatek – 4/13
Badosa – 2/2

Former world number one Garbine Muguruza booked her spot in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over in-form eighth seed Anett Kontaveit.

Kontaveit was already assured of a semi-final berth prior to Sunday's matchup but the Group Teotihuacan victor was riding a 12-match winning streak.

However, that unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of two-time grand slam champion Muguruza in straight sets.

Muguruza, who lost her Finals opener before outlasting Barbora Krejcikova in the second match, needed to win to advance and the Spanish star delivered at the year-ending championship in Guadalajara.

For the first time this tournament, Kontaveit dropped serve – Muguruza breaking in the opening game to set the tone in Mexico.

Muguruza rolled through her service games until trying to close out the set at 5-4, Kontaveit earning opportunities, but she was unable to convert as the sixth seed clinched.

The second set followed a similar theme after Muguruza broke Kontaveit's serve in the first game, and she maintained that advantage until facing a break in her bid to progress to the semis.

Muguruza navigated the break point as she earned a showdown with fellow Spaniard Paula Badosa – the winner to become the first Spanish woman to reach the final since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was runner-up in 1993.

Since the round-robin format was re-introduced in 2003, this will be only the second time the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds (Muguruza, Badosa and Kontaveit) all advanced to the WTA Finals semis after 2018.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Muguruza – 13/20
Kontaveit – 17/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Muguruza – 7/3
Kontaveit – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Muguruza – 2/6
Kontaveit – 0/3

Karolina Pliskova stayed in the hunt for a place in the last four of the WTA Finals with a 0-6 6-4 6-4 victory over Barbora Krejcikova, though her hopes hinged on Anett Kontaveit defeating Garbine Muguruza later in the day.

World number three Krejcikova did not have a win to her name in Mexico, losing to Kontaveit and Muguruza, but raced into the ascendancy on Sunday as she claimed the first set in just 26 minutes of an all-Czech tussle.

Pliskova, who had won both prior singles meetings between the pair, responded brightly in the second set before Krejcikova broke her fellow Czech's serve to take a 3-2 lead and seemingly edge closer to victory.

However, world number four Pliskova fought back by breaking in consecutive Krejcikova service games to level the match. The contest then teetered in the balance in the decisive set but, despite producing a double fault in the penultimate game, Pliskova downed Krejcikova to maintain hopes of an appearance in the final four in Guadalajara.

Wimbledon runner-up Pliskova won earlier in this tournament against Muguruza, who was set to face Kontaveit later on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Pliskova was sure to be paying close attention to that match. She needed Kontaveit, already through to the last four, to beat Muguruza and that would be enough to confirm the Czech's place in Group Teotihuacan's top two.

However, a win for Muguruza would see the Spanish sixth seed go through alongside Kontaveit, with Pliskova eliminated.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Pliskova – 10/30
Krejcikova – 21/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Pliskova – 11/12
Krejcikova – 4/8

BREAK POINTS WON 

Pliskova – 3/8
Krejcikova – 4/11

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has opened an investigation into Peng Shuai's sexual assault allegations against a former China leader.

Shuai, 35, posted on Chinese social media site Weibo allegations against Zhang Gaoli – the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee – claiming he had forced her to have sexual relations with him.

In the post, published on Tuesday before subsequently being deleted, the 2013 Wimbledon doubles champion alleged that the pair had extramarital relations and she had developed feelings for him.

All of Peng's content has since been removed from Weibo and numerous reports suggest she has not been seen in recent days.

The WTA's chairman Steve Simon addressed the matter on Sunday in a statement that said: "The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern. As an organisation dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on – equality, opportunity and respect.

"Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

"In all societies, the behaviour she alleges that took place needs to be investigated, not condoned or ignored. We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward.

"Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected.

"We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.

"Our absolute and unwavering priority is the health and safety of our players. We are speaking out so justice can be done."

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka bounced back from a disappointing defeat in her opening match at the WTA Finals to rally past Iga Swiatek in Guadalajara. 

Sabalenka steadied herself after dropping the opening set and prevailed 2-6 6-2 7-5 Saturday to keep alive her hopes of reaching the semi-finals in her maiden appearance at the event. 

Swiatek, the youngest player in the field at age 20, broke Sabalenka in her final two service games of the first set but could not maintain the momentum as the Belarusian returned the favour in the second. 

Sabalenka entered Saturday with a 9-13 record in three-set matches compared to 35-4 in two-setters but maintained her nerve after the pair traded breaks early in the decider. 

The world number two broke Swiatek to take a 6-5 lead, then served the final game out at love for the victory. 

With Sabalenka's win, Paula Badosa advances to the semi-finals as winner of the group, while the winner of Monday's match between Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari also will advance. Swiatek is out of contention for the semis. 

History is not necessarily on Sabalenka's side, as the top seed has failed to advance from the group stage at three of the past five WTA Finals. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Sabalenka – 16/27
Swiatek – 15/18

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sabalenka – 8/16
Swiatek – 2/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sabalenka – 4/7
Swiatek – 3/7

Paula Badosa made it two wins from two at the WTA Finals as she saw off a battling Maria Sakkari in straight sets.

In-form Badosa triumphed 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in two hours and four minutes to win her eighth straight match, having come into the tournament on the back of her triumph at Indian Wells.

Permutations for the last round of group-stage matches in Guadalajara will become clearer after Aryna Sabalenka has taken on Iga Swiatek later on Saturday.

But after beating Sabalenka and Sakkari without dropping a set, Badosa looks all but certain to reach the semi-finals on her debut appearance at the event.

In the first meeting between the two players, Badosa led 5-2 only to be forced into an opening-set tie-break by Sakkari, who then undid her hard work by losing the first four points of the breaker, with the Spaniard ultimately sealing the first set courtesy of a fine forehand.

Badosa struck first again with a break early in the second set and although Sakkari was able to level matters at 4-4, her opponent broke decisively immediately after before serving it out, converting her third match point with a backhand winner.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Sakkari – 25/49
Badosa – 23/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Sakkari – 1/4
Badosa – 10/6

BREAK POINTS WON 

Sakkari – 2/5
Badosa – 3/12

Garbine Muguruza staved off elimination at the WTA Finals after the former world number one rallied past Barbora Krejcikova 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Having both lost their opening matches at the year-ending championship, sixth seed Muguruza and second seed Krejcikova went head-to-head in a crucial showdown in Guadalajara.

Muguruza dropped the opening set on Friday but completed a spirited comeback to stay alive in Mexico, where the two-time grand slam champion rallied from a set down to beat a top-three opponent for the first time since her triumphant Wimbledon campaign in 2017.

Spanish star Muguruza is still in the mix to progress to the semi-finals as she improved to 1-1 in Group Teohuatican, while Krejcikova dropped to 0-2.

French Open champion Krejcikova – who would have eliminated Muguruza with victory – raced through the opening set in 36 minutes, having converted all three of her break-point chances.

Muguruza, though, bounced back to claim a 4-1 lead and while Krejcikova battled, the former fired down five aces and hit 10 winners to level the match.

After exchanging holds, a monumental 12-minute game saw Muguruza – who would have ousted her opponent with a straight-set victory – break at the sixth time of asking and she maintained that momentum to close out the tense contest.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Krejcikova – 26/33
Muguruza – 21/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Krejcikova – 8/4
Muguruza – 6/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Krejcikova – 4/9
Muguruza – 4/10

Anett Kontaveit stormed into the last four of the WTA Finals by securing a hugely impressive 6-4 6-0 victory over Karolina Pliskova on Friday. 

Estonian eighth seed Kontaveit overcame Barbora Krejcikova in her opening match and became the first player to reach the semi-finals in Guadalajara by racking up a career-best 12th straight win in just 57 minutes. 

Pliskova was victorious in each of the pair's previous three meetings and applied some early pressure but was unable to convert any of the three break points she engineered in game three of the opening set. 

Kontaveit, meanwhile, pounced on her first opening, showing the clinical touch that has seen her pick up recent titles in Moscow and Cluj-Napoca with a winner to take the set. 

The world number eight reeled off the next six games to guarantee a top-two finish in Group Teotihuacan and secure a tour-leading 38th hard-court match win this year. 

Pliskova could yet salvage a place in the semi-finals by overcoming Barbora Krejcikova in her final round-robin match, though.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Kontaveit – 20/16 
Pliskova – 9/18 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Kontaveit – 6/3 
Pliskova – 4/2 

BREAK POINTS WON 

Kontaveit – 4/6 
Pliskova – 0/3 

Maria Sakkari was merciless as she began her WTA Finals campaign with a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over an Iga Swiatek who became visibly emotional towards the end.

It was Sakkari's eighth win over a top-10 opponent this season, the most of any player on the WTA Tour, while the victory took her to 3-0 against Swiatek this year.

Sakkari, with her trademark intensity and feistiness, appeared to adjust to the conditions and altitude of Guadalajara much better than her opponent, who looked lethargic during the first set.

This was particularly evident in the 20-year-old's second service game, as Sakkari converted the second of her break points to get the early advantage.

Swiatek showed the occasional flash of quality, such as an awesome out-of-the-blue cross-court forehand in the fifth game, but she soon found herself 5-2 down as Sakkari broke to love, the decisive point gifted to her by a sloppy volley at the net that the Pole inexplicably put beyond the sideline.

Sakkari quickly wrapped up the set but Swiatek was able to dig a bit deeper in the second, showing great determination to eventually hold serve during the 10-minute third game.

But her body language at the change was hardly indicative of a player convinced she could level the match, as she sat there with a towel draped over her from head to knees.

Swiatek held out for another few games but Sakkari got the decisive break to go 4-3 up, and the match ultimately went with serve from there.

Sakkari finished her opponent off by serving to love, with a tearful Swiatek given a code violation for turning her back as she attempted to regain her composure before facing triple match point, ultimately putting her return into the net.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Sakkari – 15/22
Swiatek – 8/29

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Sakkari – 2/5
Swiatek – 2/6

BREAK POINTS WON

Sakkari – 3/8
Swiatek – 0/2

Karolina Pliskova continued her dominance against Garbine Muguruza with an epic three-set win at the WTA Finals.

Pliskova outlasted former world number one Muguruza 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) as the year-ending WTA Finals got underway in Guadalajara on Wednesday.

The first WTA Finals hosted in Latin America, third seed Pliskova prevailed in a third-set tie-break for her ninth victory over two-time grand slam champion Muguruza – her best professional record against an opponent on Tour.

After a slow start, sixth seed and Spanish star Muguruza finished strongly to claim the opening set of the Group Teotihuacan contest under the Guadalajara lights midweek.

Pliskova – the most experienced player in this year's field with her fourth consecutive Finals appearance – raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and it was an advantage she never relinquished.

The pair went toe-to-toe in the final set as a tie-break loomed after Muguruza saved two match points in the 10th game.

Pliskova, however, was not to be denied as Muguruza lost a third-set tie-break on hard courts for the first time since January 2014.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Pliskova – 
Muguruza – 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Pliskova – 8/9
Muguruza – 8/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Pliskova – 20/34
Muguruza – 23/33

Anett Kontaveit continued her superb form as she made a winning start at the WTA Finals against Barbora Krejcikova.

The Estonian was barely in the running for the year-ending championships during the first half of the season but, after losing a fifth match in a row on August 17, she went on a run of 26 wins out of 28, securing four titles and breaking into the top 10 for the first time.

Her confidence levels were still sky-high as she began her campaign in Guadalajara, dispatching French Open champion Krejcikova 6-3 6-4 to secure a Tour-leading 38th hard-court win of the season.

Like Kontaveit, Krejcikova – the only winner of a 2021 grand slam singles title at this year's Finals – was making her debut at this event, but she started in inauspicious fashion as she dropped serve in the fourth game after winning just one point against Kontaveit's serve in her opening two return games.

Kontaveit's powerful serving and groundstrokes kept her comfortably ahead in the first set, which she took at the second time of asking with an ace.

Krejcikova was broken again at the start of the second set. Her one opportunity to level, when a sublime drop shot put her 30-0 up on Kontaveit's serve, was snuffed out before she could muster a break point.

From then on, Kontaveit had the contest in her grasp, securing an 11th consecutive win when Krejcikova slapped a backhand into the net.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Krejcikova – 20/34
Kontaveit – 17/16

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Krejcikova – 2/5
Kontaveit – 8/3

BREAK POINTS WON

Krejcikova – 0/0
Kontaveit – 2/3

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