Elo Ratings: WTA Finals contenders

Published by Game Insight Group

Naomi Osaka visits the Supertree Grove in Singapore; Getty Images
Game Insight Group studies the data as eight women prepare to compete for the season-ending title at the WTA Finals.

Caroline Wozniacki will defend her title at the WTA Finals in Singapore next week, but Naomi Osaka might be the player to watch.

In the absence of injured world No.1 Simona Halep, Wozniacki heads the list of eight finalists as she looks to bookend end a year that began with her first major title in Australia, by retaining the season-ending title.

Using Elo ratings, the Game Insight Group pinpointed St Petersburg as the high-point of the Dane’s year in terms of form, which has seen a marked upturn in recent weeks with her victory in Beijing.

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Finals debutantes Osaka and Kiki Bertens are the form players in 2018, while Elina Svitolina has slumped considerably since this time last year and only just made the final eight.

Elo ratings* are an alternative to more traditional rankings aimed at giving a greater insight into a player’s performance ability.

They factor in every professional match a player has played in their career, taking into account the level of the opponent, the difficulty of the match and whether it took place at tour level or at a Grand Slam.

Elo Ranking Player Elo Rating
1 Simona Halep* 1963.9
2 Caroline Wozniacki 1963.0
3 Karolina Pliskova 1937.9
4 Naomi Osaka 1900.6
5 Angelique Kerber 1888.3
6 Petra Kvitova 1881.9
7 Kiki Bertens 1861.9
8 Elina Svitolina 1838.8
9 Sloane Stephens 1809.8

*Withdrawn from WTA Finals with injury

WTA Finalists
Most Improved In 2018 
Player Elo improvement
1. Naomi Osaka +188.4
2. Kiki Bertens +166.4
3. Angelique Kerber +148.9
4. Petra Kvitova +104.4
5. Sloane Stephens +57.2
6. Karolina Pliskova +12.7
7. Caroline Wozniacki +0.9
8. Elina Svitolina -171.8


WTA Finalists
Peak ratings in 2018 
Player Peak rating Tournament
1. Caroline Wozniacki 2107.8 St Petersburg
2. Elina Svitolina 2075.2 Australian Open
3. Petra Kvitova 2058.2 Eastbourne
4. Kiki Bertens 2052.6 US Open
5. Karolina Pliskova 2047.8 Madrid
6. Angelique Kerber 2024.5 Wimbledon
7. Sloane Stephens 1956.1 US Open
8. Naomi Osaka 1909.6 Beijing
+ Simona Halep 2151.3 Cincinnati

*How do Elo ratings work?

  • Elo ratings are already used in many other sports and when applied to tennis they outperform other published prediction methods, including those based on offical rankings.
  • Elo ratings factor in all main draw singles matches above the Challenger level.
  • Elo is smart about how many points are won or lost. If a player did more than expected in earning a win against a strong opponent, they earn more points than for an easy win. If a player underperformed by getting upset, they lose more points than for losing to an equal opponent.
  • Elo ratings can be surface-adjusted, taking into account all of a player’s matches, but weighing those on the specific surface more heavily.
  • Elo ratings of players absent from competition for more than three months are deducted 100 points. Walkovers and retirements are excluded.
  • Players earn/lose more points for results over the same opponents at Grand Slams compared to lower-level tournaments.


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