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The WTA Finals start in Texas on Monday
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Tennis: WTA Finals preview

The year-closing celebration that is the WTA Finals gets under way in Texas on Monday and the current eight best female players on the planet are battling it out for top prize.

With $1,240,000 and ranking points up for grabs to the winner, there is more than just bragging rights on the line and world number one Iga Swiatek will be hoping she can cap off a stellar season.

The prolific Pole has won two Grand Slams this season - the French and US Open - and is 5/4 to claim more success in the States at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.

However, she is no certainty to do so as the competition is fierce and her section of the draw looks a tricky one with Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina housed alongside her in Group Tracy Austin.

The other quartet - Ons Jabuer, Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka - will compete in Group Nancy Richey and the top two from each section will book their spot in the last four.

Garbine Muguruza is defending champion but she failed to qualify so Veronika Kudermetova and Madison Keys are on standby in case there are any withdrawals.

WhatWTA Finals
WhereDickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas, United States
WhenFrom 22:00, Monday 31st October 2022
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsIga Swiatek 5/4, Jessica Pegula 5/1, Ons Jabeur 6/1, Cori Gauff 13/2, Aryna Sabalenka 7/1, Caroline Garcia 9/1, Maria Sakkari 12/1, Daria Kasatkina 16/1

Swiatek should take some stopping

Swiatek has carried all before her this year and there is no doubting she is going to be tough to stop having added eight titles to her ever-growing CV in 2022.

The 21-year-old won in San Diego when last seen in the middle of October, a victory which came on the back of finishing runner-up in Ostrava, so she is evidently holding her form well.

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Interestingly, one of her scalps in her title triumph in San Diego was Gauff, who she thrashed 6-0 6-3, and it is hard to see that form overturned.

Swiatek has now won all four meetings with Gauff, leads Garcia 1-0 and is 4-1 up on Kasatkina, who arrives in Texas in worrying shape having lost four of her last seven starts.

The round-robin format means two wins should be enough to send Swiatek through to the semi-finals, where she'd be a force given her recent winning mentality. The potent Pole may be short in the betting, but that is completely justified and there are far worse 5/4 shots out there.

Gauff, who is 13/2 to be crowned champion, is rated second best in that section but she was brushed aside 6-3 6-4 by Garcia in the quarter-final at the US Open.

However, Garcia's form has tailed off since the final Grand Slam of the season and the Frenchwoman has won only one of her four subsequent starts. 

The world number six was involved in competition in Mexico just over a week ago, beating Rebecca Marino in three sets before losing in straight sets to Sloane Stephens.

Those recent results are of real concern and with Kasatkina also finding wins hard to come by, Gauff, armed with home advantage, is fancied to advance to the last four alongside the superstar that is Swiatek.

Pegula peaking at perfect time

With Swiatek the resounding pick in Group Tracy Austin, bettors may turn to Group Nancy Richey to find the value and American ace Pegula appears to have hit form at just the right time.

Pegula was beaten in three sets by Swiatek in the semi-final in San Diego in mid-October but built on that in Guadalajara last time out by taking the title.

The world number three dropped only one set during her Mexican adventure and claimed an impressive list of scalps, beating the likes of Elena Rybakina, Biancaa Andreescu, Stephens, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sakkari.

Pegula was a decisive winner in the final against Sakkari, prevailing 6-2 6-3, and is fancied to have the Greek girl's measure once more.

Second seed Jabeur finished runner-up to Swiatek at the US Open in September but it was a disappointing return to action for her as she was beaten in the quarter-final of her home event in Monastir. 

The field in Tunisia was nothing near this calibre so it's possible a long, hard season has taken its toll with Jabeur.

Sabalenka would be a danger to all if fully-wound up. However, she is wildly inconsistent and there must be a doubt as to whether she will be as she lost in three sets to Vekic in San Diego and was beaten in three sets again by Liudmila Samsonova in Mexico last time out.

Pegula is, therefore, a strong fancy to top Group Nancy Richey and must enter calculations for the title at 5/1. The two group winners will avoid one another in the semi-final so the Swiatek versus Pegula final could well be on the cards.

Jabeur can be backed at 6/1, Sabalenka is a 7/1 chance, while Sakkari is the outsider of this quartet at 12/1.

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