Day 3 of the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara sees Group Teotihuacán reaching its mid-point – and as such, some semifinal eventualities can probably turn into clearer after Friday’s matches.
Anett Kontaveit is the one participant who can wholly management her destiny. Having defeated Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-4 on Day 1, she is assured to advance to the semifinals if she defeats Karolina Pliskova in straight units.
Conversely, one other straight-sets loss for Krejcikova towards Garbiñe Muguruza would remove the Czech from the singles competitors.
Krejcikova would even be eradicated if she loses to Muguruza and Pliskova defeats Kontaveit. In that case, Pliskova would advance to the semifinals because the group winner, whereas Kontaveit and Muguruza would play for the second spot.
Muguruza, who misplaced a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6) heartbreaker to Pliskova on Day 1, can be eradicated if she loses to Krejcikova and Kontaveit defeats Pliskova. In that case, Kontaveit would advance to the semifinals because the group winner, whereas Pliskova and Krejcikova would play for the second spot.
Another mixture of outcomes will imply qualification comes right down to the ultimate matches on Sunday.
 Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs.  Anett Kontaveit (EST)
Is the brand new Anett Kontaveit for actual?
“All through my profession, I imply, I have been in form of the High 30 for lots of years now,” acknowledged the Estonian after defeating Barbora Krejcikova on Day 1 of the WTA Finals. Certainly, she first cracked the High 30 in July 2017, and spent over 4 years settling in that vary, by no means ranked beneath No.34 or above No.14. There have been a number of upsets of high names and occasional deep runs at huge tournaments – but additionally loads of early losses, and only one win in eight finals.
Kontaveit’s report towards Karolina Pliskova in that spell encapsulated her obvious ceiling. They met thrice – within the 2018 Stuttgart semifinals, 2019 Indian Wells fourth spherical and 2019 Toronto third spherical. Every time, Kontaveit had exceeded her seeding and put collectively a strong run, however Pliskova’s High 10 high quality signalled the tip of the highway.
In fact, Kontaveit has modified her narrative in spectacular style this autumn. She’s now gained 27 of her final 29 matches, together with an energetic 11-match profitable streak. Neither a change of continents nor the problem of Guadalajara’s altitude have been the slightest impediment to her momentum towards Krejcikova, her fifth High 10 win of the season.
For Kontaveit, positivity and self-belief have been key to her surge. Pliskova, however, has been completely satisfied to minimize her possibilities this week. “We is not going to discuss that,” she mentioned drily in pre-tournament press when requested about her degree in apply. After closing out Muguruza on her fourth match level, the Czech described her apply classes as “a extremely huge despair”.
Champion’s Reels: Anett Kontaveit, Cleveland 2021 | Anett Kontaveit, Ostrava 2021 | Anett Kontaveit, Moscow 2021 | Anett Kontaveit, Transylvania Open 2021
However Pliskova is skilled sufficient to know that competitors is a unique matter. Extraneous components – apply degree, tough situations, an in-form opponent – may be put aside when two gamers are locked at 5-5 in a deciding set.
Whereas Pliskova battled by means of that state of affairs towards Muguruza, it isn’t one which Kontaveit has been in not too long ago. She has solely performed one three-setter because the US Open, a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Ekaterina Alexandrova within the Moscow ultimate. That is largely as a result of Kontaveit’s degree has been so excessive that she hasn’t allowed opponents to get anyplace close to that stage – but when Pliskova can keep together with her to go deep right into a ultimate set, that might be the place the three-time WTA Finals semifinalist could make her superior expertise depend.
Head-to-head: Pliskova leads 3-0. Solely a kind of matches went to 3 units, her 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-2 victory within the fourth spherical of Indian Wells 2019.
 Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs.  Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
If Kontaveit and Pliskova may be heartened by their opening performances, Krejcikova and Muguruza discover themselves with their backs to the wall. Each face potential elimination from the competitors, and it isn’t totally in their very own arms.
It is maybe becoming that they face one another on this essential, probably decisive conflict. This would be the fourth time they’ve met this season, the best variety of 2021 encounters of any of the round-robin matchups.
Champion’s Reels: Barbora Krejcikova, Strasbourg 2021 | Barbora Krejcikova, Prague 2021
The earlier three have been all noteworthy for various causes. When Muguruza defeated Krejcikova 7-6(6), 6-3 for the Dubai crown in February, a title run she deems her season spotlight, the Czech was very a lot a shock WTA 1000 finalist. Krejcikova was ranked World No.63, had solely reached one different WTA 250 ultimate 4 years beforehand, and had misplaced in Doha qualifying the week earlier than to Cristina Bucsa. That she was capable of preserve it so shut towards Muguruza was thought-about a constructive.
As we all know now, Dubai was no outlier however the begin of one thing larger for Krejcikova. Six months and one Grand Slam title later, she proved that by reversing the consequence towards Muguruza within the Cincinnati third spherical, profitable 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2 in a match that appeared much less shut than the scoreline. Two weeks later, Krejcikova reprised the victory 6-3, 7-6(4) in a tense US Open fourth-round tie.
Highlights: Muguruza d. Krejcikova, 2021 Dubai F | Krejcikova d. Muguruza, 2021 Cincinnati R3
Muguruza, subsequently, will likely be significantly eager to show that she has not been solved by Krejcikova. This might be a main alternative to get one other win on the board of their rivalry. Having compiled a 45-14 report by means of Indian Wells, Krejcikova is now on a four-match dropping streak.
The one participant within the WTA Finals subject to have competed on the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Prague final week, Krejcikova’s first match confirmed that she had not but been capable of regulate to Guadalajara’s situations, nor was she as sharp in her execution as when she defeated Muguruza in the USA.
Champion’s Reel: Garbiñe Muguruza, Dubai 2021 | Garbiñe Muguruza, Chicago Fall 2021
“Couple days in the past I used to be really taking part in in Europe, now I am right here,” mentioned Krejcikova afterwards. “It is actually, actually, actually tough. I will work with that and I hope it may get higher and I will have higher matches. I am normally going to a match the place I simply lose and also you go house, so I actually do not know the best way to strategy this.”
Krejcikova might want to pace up her acclimatisation course of whereas battling fatigue – however Muguruza’s process is to bounce again rapidly from the heartbreak of the Pliskova loss. The Spaniard saved three match factors to come back two factors from victory herself, roared on by a Latin American crowd, however was simply unable to finish the comeback.
“Man, that was a painful loss undoubtedly,” she mirrored. “I am really happy with the match I performed because of the circumstances. I cherished the gang. Despite the fact that I suffered throughout this match, I additionally felt very energised and motivated to play in Mexico. Properly, the round-robin retains happening…”
Head-to-head: Krejcikova leads 2-1, all matches this 12 months.