ATP & WTA Finals
Finals Watch: ATP kicks off finale in Turin, WTA semifinals take shape in GuadalajaraBy Nov 14, 2021
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ATP & WTA Finals
Finals Watch: ATP kicks off finale in Turin, WTA semifinals take shape in Guadalajara
In a rare overlap, the tours’ Finals share space through the start of the week, ending with the guarantee of an all-Spanish WTA Finals semifinal.
Published Nov 14, 2021
WATCH: Sunday's WTA Finals round robin action concluded with Garbiñe Muguruza snapping Anett Kontaveit's 12-match winning streak to bump Karolina Pliskova out of semifinal contention.
Double your Finals, double your fun, right? So must be the feeling among fans of both tours taking in a Super Sunday of action between the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara. While the women’s finale will determine which of Barbora Krejcikova, Garbiñe Muguruza, or Karolina Pliskova will join Teotihuacán Group-mate Anett Kontaveit in the semifinals, the men are just getting underway with defending champion Daniil Medvedev opening Red Group action alongside Hubert Hurkacz, Matteo Berrettini, and Alexander Zverev.
Check back throughout a jam-packed afternoon for updates on the four marquee matches:
 Daniil Medvedev def.  Hubert Hurkacz, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4
Underestimate Medvedev’s unorthodox style at your peril: the reigning US Open champion possesses one of the tour’s most versatile games, one tailor made for hard courts. Kicking off his Turin title defense against an on-fire Hurkacz, Medvedev made great use of his maddening adaptability on a lightning-quick court, rallying from a set down to dispatch the Miami Open champion in two hours flat.
Medvedev and Hurkacz had already played a pair of epics ahead of their ATP Finals face-off: first it was the Pole who took a Wimbledon five-setter en route to his first major semifinals, only for Medvedev to avenge the loss in Canada a month later.
Though he is among the growing contingent of players advocating for faster surfaces, the No. 2 seed nearly got more than he bargained for when Hurkacz snuck off with the opening set on Sunday, employing his textbook aggressive game to perfection with 14 winners and 13 approaches to net—of which he won 11.
Undaunted by the deficit, Medvedev pounced on a second set letdown from Hurkacz to race ahead 3-0 and begin using the Center Court to his full advantage. By moving closer to the baseline, he wrested the initiative back from the No. 7 seed—who was one of the last to qualify for Turin after reaching the Rolex Paris Masters semifinals—and kept his net-rushing down to just 12 attempts over the subsequent two sets.
The Russian scored another opening break to begin the decider and never looked back, ending the high-quality contest with 31 winners to just eight unforced errors. While Hurkacz matched him on winners, he will rue 17 errors of his own as he aims to remain in round robin contention against either Berrettini or Zverev on Tuesday.
 Alexander Zverev def.  Matteo Berrettini, 7-6 (7), 1-0 ret.
The second men’s match of the day suffered an abrupt finish when Berrettini incurred an acute abdominal injury early in the second set of an entertaining clash with the No. 3 seed.
Making his second appearance at the ATP Finals and playing in front of a home crowd, the Italian faced a stiff challenge in the form of the 2018 champion, who has won all but one of their previous encounters.
Still, Berrettini made more than a match of things from the onset, saving four break points in his first four service games to earn opportunity to take the opening set in a marathon 11th game.
Zverev saved both set points to force a tiebreak and recovered from 2-4 down in the subsequent Sudden Death to ultimately regain the advantage. On the brink of falling behind break early in the second set, Berrettini pulled up with an ab injury, calling the match after a medical timeout.
If Berrettini cannot continue playing the tournament, countryman Jannik Sinner will enter the fray as the first alternate.
 Karolina Pliskova def.  Barbora Krejcikova, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4
Three years after Pliskova lost a WTA Finals encounter having won the first set, 6-0, the former world No. 1 made a comeback of her own to keep her hopes of reaching a fourth consecutive WTA Finals semifinal alive in Guadalajara.
Pliskova and fellow Czech Krejcikova last met in singles back in 2018, when the latter was still largely a doubles specialist making her major singles main draw debut. Krejcikova went on to win both singles and doubles titles in Paris this year, but after a dominant spring and summer stretch has begun to flag. Admitting to exhaustion after her US Open quarterfinal exit, she bowed out to eventual champion Paula Badosa in Indian Wells and lost her first two WTA Finals round robin matches heading into Sunday afternoon.
With all three women still in contention to join group winner Anett Kontaveit in the semifinals, Krejcikova began with aplomb, striking eight winners and drawing 12 errors from Pliskova to sweep the first six games. For Pliskova, who ended her Kontaveit defeat having lost the final eight games, there could have only been relief when she ended the 14-game slump with a hold that got her on the scoreboard.
Still, the No. 2-seeded Krejcikova appeared very much in control when she scored another service break and held a break chance for 5-2. Digging out of the marathon seventh game, Pliskova came alive as she reeled off four total games of her own to suddenly set the match on level terms.
The deciding set saw both women reaching for their best tennis, but often falling short when the time came to take the ultimate initiative—ending the match with a combined 85 errors to 49 winners. Serving at four games apiece, Pliskova pulled out another long game on serve, saving two break points along the way, to break Krejcikova’s spirit, benefitting from a slew of unforced errors to reach triple match point.
Pliskova could have guaranteed her spot in the semis with a straight-set win, but will have to settle for third place after Muguruza defeated Kontaveit to qualify for the final four.
 Garbiñe Muguruza def.  Anett Kontaveit, 6-4, 6-4
The mission was clear for Muguruza as she stepped on court: defeat Anett Kontaveit. There was no complex round robin math to bog her down; all the former world No. 1 needed to do was avenge her 6-1, 6-1 Kremlin Cup defeat to the streaking Estonian.
Good thing, because that was a steep enough hill to climb. Even better that Muguruza was game for the challenge.
Since losing her first match to Karolina Pliskova and falling behind a set to Barbora Krejcikova in her second, the Spaniard has looked stronger with every point played on court, and took a quick 2-0 lead to the delight of the Guadalajara crowd.
Kontaveit has won her last 12 matches and was already assured of finishing No. 1 in the Teotihuacán Group, which may explain the lack of intensity that manifested in unforced errors early on. But the No. 8 seed did all she could to stay alive, engineering a break point as Muguruza served for the set. Undaunted, Muguruza turned it around and repeated her break advantage early in the second.
The second set played out almost identically to the first: from break point down in the final game, Muguruza saved it with an ace and edged over the finish line to bump Pliskova out of semifinal contention.
Awaiting Muguruza in the semifinals is countrywoman Paula Badosa, who won her round robin group on Saturday with a straight-set win over Maria Sakkari—guaranteeing a Spanish woman will reach the final.