Garbiñe Muguruza, of Spain, celebrates after defeating Paula Badosa, of Spain, during a semifinal match at the WTA Finals tennis tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)
No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit takes on No. 6 Garbiñe Muguruza in the WTA Finals championship match
The evening match in Guadalajara Mexico will go at 8:30 pm ET, with Kontaveit the favorite
Muguruza defeated Kontaveit in straight sets in the group stage, although Kontaveit had already clinched
The No. 6 and No. 8 seeds are through to the championship match at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
But if their 2021 won-loss records are nearly identical, Garbiñe Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit have come to the same place via different routes.
Muguruza peaked early in the season; Kontaveit came on strong in the final few weeks to book her spot in the year-end championship.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs Anett Kontaveit Odds
 Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
O 21.5 (-120)
 Anett Konteveit (EST)
U 21.5 (-110)
Odds as of Nov. 17 at DraftKings
Muguruza a Longshot from the Get-Go
While the oddsmakers looked favorably upon Kontaveit before the start of the event because she had so much momentum coming in, the same was not true for Muguruza.
Kontaveit stood at +500 to win it all; only No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka – always an oddsmakers’ favorite even though she hasn’t come through that often in 2021 – had better odds.
With Garbiñe Muguruza and Anett Kontaveit, this is the first final since 2016 in which both WTA Final finalists emerged from the same group.
In 2016, Dominika Cibulkova defeated Angelique Kerber to win the title after losing to the German in group play. #AKRONWTAFinals pic.twitter.com/E84uNqEvKY
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) November 17, 2021
But those champions’ instincts have kicked in for the 28-year-old Spaniard this week.
The wild card has been the huge support from the Guadalajara crowd.
With the lack of marquee names in the event, Muguruza already was more familiar to them than any of her opponents because of their common language, and her two titles at the WTA Monterrey event over the last few years.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs Anett Kontaveit Head-to-Head
28 (Oct. 7, 1993)
25 (Dec. 24, 1995)
Career WTA Singles Titles
Career Grand Slam Titles
No. 1 (Sept. 10, 2017)
Career High Ranking
No. 8 (Nov. 1, 2021)
Career Prize Money
2021 Won/Loss record
Career Head to Head
Hello, It’s You Again
When Muguruza and Kontaveit played last Sunday, the Estonian was already 2-0 in group play, and assured of a spot in the semifinals.
It wasn’t a “dead match”, per se, because of all that Muguruza had at stake.
But it’s never a surprise when the player who already has a spot locked up doesn’t live up to the moment. And so it was.
STAT OF THE DAY!@GarbiMuguruza‘s electric 6-4, 6-4 win over Anett Kontaveit at the WTA Finals tonight was the 40th Top 10 win of her career!
Muguruza has the most career Top 10 wins of anyone in the Top 15 of the WTA rankings right now.
MORE STATS: https://t.co/rBgGk8g38o pic.twitter.com/Yd4dyARGj9
— TENNIS (@Tennis) November 15, 2021
Muguruza had a great serving day in the 6-4, 6-4 win. She had seven aces and 80 percent of first serves won. The Spaniard saved all three break points she faced, while breaking Kontaveit twice in six opportunities.
2022 Australian Open Odds Tracker
Messy Numbers, but Impressive Execution
The statistics from that match belie how impressively she played.
Muguruza had 13 winners and 20 unforced errors, officially. Kontaveit had more winners (17) but also a lot more unforced errors (29).
Afterwards, the usually reserved Muguruza actually … joyfully skipped back onto the court to acknowledge the love of the crowd.
It was visible evidence of how much she realizes that playing in front of a crowd that loves her on such a big occasion is an opportunity she might not get again.
28-year-old Spaniard awaits winner of Sakkari-Kontaveit semifinalhttps://t.co/kgbeJEWhNf
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) November 17, 2021
Muguruza carried that through to an impressively routine victory in the semifinals over her countrywoman, Paula Badosa.
Badosa, four years younger, looked out of gas. Muguruza looked as though this was the first week of the season.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs Anett Kontaveit Match History
WTA Finals (RR)
French Open (R64)
6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2
2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1
Australian Open (R128)
Kontaveit Moscow Win a One-off
Generally speaking, Muruguza has had the better of Kontaveit.
The exception was the match in the quarterfinals of Moscow in October – a 6-1, 6-1 Kontaveit beatdown.
It was a match, had she won it, that would have qualified Muguruza for Guadalajara.
She didn’t step up (although she officially qualified a few days later). But it also came as Kontaveit was on her golden end-of-season roll.
Kontaveit went 10-0 through the Kremlin Cup and then the Transylvania Open to make the Guadalajara date.
She lost just one set along the way: in the Moscow final to Ekaterina Alexandrova.
And her momentum hasn’t dimmed all that much.
But Muguruza is playing exponentially better this week when she was then. And she has all the intangibles in her corner.
Best Bet: Muguruza to win (+120)