Aryna Sabalenka claims playing directly against Iga Swiatek for the world No 1 spot is exactly the thing that she wants. On Friday, Sabalenka defeated Elena Rybakina to clinch a semifinal spot at the WTA Finals. After sealing a semifinal spot in Cancun, Sabalenka insisted her wish was to play Swiatek next.
After Swiatek defeated Ons Jabeur later that day, a Swiatek and Sabalenka semifinal was officially set up. When Sabalenka and Swiatek meet on Saturday, there will be more at stake than just a final spot in Cancun. If Sabalenka defeats Swiatek, she will officially clinch the Year-End No 1 award.
On the other side, Swiatek has a chance to achieve the Year-End No 1 by beating Sabalenka and then also winning the final match.
Sabalenka looking forward to battling Swiatek for the Year-End No 1
“As I said at the US Open, I didn’t want her to lose that match.
I really wanted to play against her to decide who’s the No 1 in the world. I said that and now it’s a possibility that we’re gonna play for the No 1 spot. I would love to play against Iga. That would be a really incredible match.
I hope the stadium would be full. And I hope they’re gonna keep screaming Sabalenka (smiling)," Sabalenka said after clinching a semifinal spot in Cancun. Against Swiatek, Sabalenka has three wins and five losses. But two of Sabalenka's three wins against Swiatek have come at the WTA Finals.
In 2021, Sabalenka defeated Swiatek in a three-set group stage match at the WTA Finals. Last year, Sabalenka beat Swiatek in the semifinal at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth. So far this year, Sabalenka and Swiatek have played twice.
Swiatek beat Sabalenka in the Stuttgart final, while the Belarusian ended on the winning side in the Madrid final. It remains to be seen if Sabalenka can beat Swiatek for the third consecutive year at the WTA Finals and also earn the Year-End No 1 award in style.