Dating back to 2015, the WTA Finals has crowned a different champion every year and has had no repeat winners since Serena Williams in 2014 (five-time champion). With the conclusion of the 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara on November 17, the tradition lives on, as Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain emerged victorious for the first time at the event in her career. She also became the first Spanish woman in the history of the WTA Finals to win the singles title.
Muguruza made her first appearance at the WTA Finals in 2014 in the doubles draw and made it all the way to the quarter-finals with her partner and compatriot, Carla Suárez Navarro. She then qualified for the event in both the singles and doubles categories in 2015, reaching the finals in doubles and the semi-finals in singles. Since then, Muguruza punched her ticket to the 2016 and 2017 WTA Finals, and claimed the title in 2021.
After dropping her opening match to Karolina Plíšková 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6), Muguruza’s road to the championship match included thrilling victories over Barbora Krejčíková (2-6, 6-3, 6-4) and Anett Kontaveit (6-4, 6-4) in the group stage. She then defeated fellow Spaniard Paula Badosa in straight sets in the semi-finals and set up a rematch with red-hot Kontaveit in the finals.
Similar to their round-robin clash, Muguruza had the early break en route to claiming the first set in the title match. Muguruza was able to keep the pressure going in the second set and clinched the title on her first match point opportunity, breaking her opponent to love in the 12th game.
Both 2021 WTA Finals finalists had exceptional seasons and will look to keep that momentum going in 2022. Hopefully tennis fans will get to see them both in Toronto next summer, as the WTA returns to the capital of Ontario in 2022. Kontaveit’s best result at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers was in 2019, reaching the round of 16, while Muguruza managed to reach the quarter-finals in 2017.