Coco Gauff still can make it to the semifinals at the 2023 WTA Finals, courtesy of the unique format of the year-end WTA tournament.
After confidently crushing Ons Jabeur in her first round-robin match, the 19-year-old faced problems against her old nemesis, Iga Swiatek, who beat her in two sets in her second match at the 2023 WTA Finals.
The American still has a chance to qualify for the semifinals. On top of that, due to her impressive victory over Jabeur, her winning prospects are assured, Tennis-Infinity reports.
Up next, Gauff is set to take on Marketa Vondrousova, who lost both of her matches so far, with her latest defeat coming to Jabeur on Wednesday. The Czech player lost all four sets she played, with her set record standing at 0-4.
Furtermore, that may be the crucial stat, deciding the tie between multiple players. If two players are tied on the same number of wins, then a head-to-head match decides the tie, a situation which is not an option for Gauff anymore.
The only scenario in which she would have the same number of wins with one player is only if she would lose to Vondrousova, while Jabeur would beat Swiatek, but in that case, the Pole and the Tunisian would both have two wins, while the Czech player and the American would both stand on one win, meaning neither of them would qualify.
Consequently, there are three options for Gauff, which would mean that she’ll play in the semifinals. Two of them include her winning the match, while there’s also one option for her to advance while losing to Vondrousova.
If the teenager beats Vondrousova, she’ll have two match wins. In that case, if Swiatek beats Jabeur, Gauff doesn’t need to do any calculations, as the Pole would top the group with three wins, and she would be place second with two victories.
In the second scenario, Gauff beats Vondrousova, while Jabeur manages to outplay Swiatek. In that case, three players would be tied at three wins, and since each would have one head-to-head win, a set record would need to decide then.
Currently, Swiatek has a 4-0 record, while Jabeur and Gauff both stand at 2-2. In that case, the American would ideally need to win 2-0, because only one set won by the Polish player then means that she would advance.
The worst-case scenario is if Gauff wins 2-1, while Jabeur beats the world no. 2 2-0. In that case, the American would have a 4-3 set record, while both players ahead of her would stand at 4-2, meaning the 2023 US Open champion would finish third.
If the Tunisian beats Swiatek 2-0, and the same result would end the match between Gauff and Vondrousova, then a game record would decide the three-way tie between Swiatek, Jabeur, and Gauff, meaning that every game counts for the American.
There’ also one scenario, which would qualify the 19-year-old even if she would lose, but in that case, Swiatek needs to beat Jabeur. Once again, set record matters, so if she was to lose, Gauff would need to win a set to improve her chances.
In that case, if Swiatek beat the Tunisian 2-0, it would be Gauff who would make it to the semifinals. Once again, if both matches end 2-0, then a game record decides the tie.