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2023 WTA Finals: Gauff falls to Swiatek but still controls destiny in group stage

Arthur Kapetanakis | November 02, 2023

After a blistering start at the WTA Finals, Coco Gauff suffered a setback on Wednesday with defeat to Iga Swiatek in Cancun. Making her second appearance at the year-end event, the third-seeded American raced past Ons Jabeur for an opening win but fell to 1-1 in group-stage play with a 6-0, 7-5 loss to Swiatek.


Despite the defeat, Gauff still controls her own destiny in her bid to reach the semifinals—though tiebreaker scenarios may come into play. Swiatek leads the Chetumal Group with a 2-0 record, while Gauff and Jabeur are both 1-1 and Marketa Vondrousova is 0-2.


Gauff, who beat Swiatek for the first time en route to the Cincinnati title this summer, served for the second set at 5-4 on Wednesday night in their 10th WTA meeting but struggled with inconsistent deliveries down the stretch.

On Friday, Gauff will face Wimbledon champ Vondrousova while Swiatek meets Jabeur. The most straightforward scenario for Gauff to qualify for the semis would be wins for both her and Swiatek. If both Gauff and Jabeur win in straight sets, there would be a three-way tie at 2-1 and percentage of games won would determine who advances.


Simply put, an emphatic, straight-sets win for Gauff could ensure her place in the knockout rounds. A three-set win would only be sufficient to progress if Swiatek wins at least one set against Jabeur, while defeat would put her in serious jeopardy of elimination.


By contrast, Jessica Pegula has already clinched first place in her group with a 2-0 record after two matches, straight-sets wins against Elena Rybakina and world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka. She will bid to complete a perfect round-robin campaign on Thursday night against Maria Sakkari.

Joint-doubles world No. 1s Gauff and Pegula are also competing in the WTA Finals doubles event as a team, though their singles campaigns have been more successful.


The top seeds dropped to 0-2 with a 3-6, 7-5, 10-6 defeat to Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova on Wednesday, but could still advance with a win in their final group match against Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonereva—if results fall just right. The Americans would also need group-leaders Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe to beat Krejcikova and Siniakova to set up a three-way tie for second place.

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