Garbine Muguruza became the first Spaniard to win the WTA Finals after defeating Anett Kontaveit 6-3 7-5 in a history-making victory.

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was the only other player from Spain to reach the WTA Finals decider, finishing runner-up to Stefanie Graf in 1993.

But Muguruza exceeded that result as the former world number one proved too strong for Kontaveit at the prestigious year-ending championship on Wednesday.

Muguruza – a two-time grand slam champion – also celebrated her 10th WTA Tour title, having been the only player to beat Kontaveit within the last month following her group-stage success in Guadalajara.

After exchanging breaks in the opening set, Muguruza struck for a 4-3 lead, winning the last four games to seize control midweek.

Kontaveit claimed the early break in the second set as errors started to mount for Muguruza, who eventually found herself 5-3 adrift.

But as Kontaveit served for the set, Muguruza rallied in a dominant display, reeling off four consecutive games like she did in the opener to take home the WTA crown.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Kontaveit – 15/39
Muguruza – 16/25

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Kontaveit – 3/6
Muguruza – 2/0

BREAK POINTS WON 

Kontaveit – 2/4
Muguruza – 5/11

WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon says he is even more concerned about Peng Shuai after receiving an email purportedly written by the two-time major doubles champion saying she is safe.

Peng has reportedly been missing since making sexual assault allegations against a former top Chinese government official.

She 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.

Chinese state media sent a statement to Simon with an email supposedly written by Peng stating the allegations of sexual assault were not true and that she is "resting at home."

The WTA boss on Wednesday reacted by saying he has "a hard time believing" Peng wrote the email and he is even more worried about the 35-year-old.

"The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts," he said in a statement.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government.

"The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail.

"Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship.

"The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to."

The WTA called for a full investigation into the matter last week.

Peng's social media post, along with all of her other content, has been removed from Weibo.

A spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs informed reporters he was not aware of the situation.

"I have not heard of the issue you raised," the spokesperson said via a widely released statement. "This is not a diplomatic question."

Anett Kontaveit will face two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza in the WTA Finals decider after outlasting Maria Sakkari 6-1 3-6 6-3.

Kontaveit – the most in-form player on the WTA Tour – was pushed by fourth seed Sakkari in Tuesday's semi-final at the year-ending championship but fought hard to reach the biggest final of her career.

Having entered the Guadalajara showpiece on the back of three titles and 19 wins in 20 matches, eighth-seeded Estonian star Kontaveit maintained her momentum with her Tour-leading 48th win of the season.

Kontaveit will now go head-to-head with former world number one and sixth seed Muguruza in a repeat of their group-stage meeting, which the latter claimed in straight sets.

The first set was straightforward for Kontaveit, who broke twice as she dominated on serve against Greece's Sakkari.

But Sakkari – who trumped Aryna Sabalenka to reach the semi-finals at the expense of the top seed – remained composed, breaking at the end of the second set to force a decider.

After trading breaks early in the third, Kontaveit eventually prevailed as she looks to avenge her loss to Muguruza in Wednesday's title showdown.

Kontaveit is now a perfect 7-0 in semi-finals this year and the 25-year-old WTA Finals debutant stands on the cusp of a third straight trophy and fifth overall, which would tie world number one Ash Barty for the most this year.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 

Kontaveit – 26/33
Sakkari – 15/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS 

Kontaveit – 6/3
Sakkari – 9/3

BREAK POINTS WON 

Kontaveit – 4/8
Sakkari – 2/2

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 

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