CANCUN, Mexico — Iga Swiatek dominated American Jessica Pegula 6-1 6-0 to win the season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun and regain her world number one ranking from Aryna Sabalenka.
The Pole broke Pegula five times and won the final 11 games in a59-minute slaughter to capture her first WTA Finals title in a match delayed by a day due to rain.
“I want to thank my team who has been with me for the whole season,” Swiatek said during the trophy ceremony.
“We’ve had many ups and downs but this is for sure an up, and we’ll have many more if we keep working like that.”
Swiatek ends the season on an 11-match winning streak and will finish the year in top spot for the second year in a row, having lost the position to Sabalenka after the US Open.
Swiatek, 22, collected six out of her total 17 career titles this season as she retained the French Open crown to lift her her fourth Grand Slam trophy.
The 29-year-old Pegula, who struggled on her serve and failed to match Swiatek’s energy level, was gracious in defeat.
“Congrats on ending the year number one and winning this tournament, it’s really incredible” she said according to Reuters.
“You continue to push me to be a better player and I appreciate that aspect of it. I wish I could have done better today but that’s not how it goes sometimes.”
Last year, Swiatek famously ran off with 37 straight wins, more than anyone else this century. She had no competition for her No.1 ranking and, quite frankly, was in a league of her own.
But then this year happened. In September, her 75-week run as the No.1 player came to an end after the US Open. Swiatek was visibly shaken. It turned out the downturn hurt more than she had let on.
Afterward, she said all the right things. She was in no rush to take the No.1 back from Aryna Sabalenka. Her focus was to play more freely, to improve herself — as a player and a person. If she did that, the top ranking would return.
And it did. She finished off another ridiculous stretch. A day after routing Sabalenka, Swiatek dropped only a game against Jessica Pegula in the championship match of this year’s WTA Finals. Altogether, Swiatek did not drop a set in Cancun — this against the best competition in the world.
“2022 was so amazing that I don’t know if it’s gonna be possible for me to repeat a season like that,” Swiatek said according to wtatennis.
“So I just didn’t feel at the end like I’m in the shadow anymore because I knew that I’m having another great season. And honestly, I kind of accepted that I’m not going to have a season like that, like in 2022, and I just looked forward.”
“I learned my lesson and this time I didn’t want [the No.1 ranking] to have an impact on me,” Swiatek said.
“It did a little bit — it’s hard not to think about stuff like that — but actually, when I went on court, I knew that I had to focus on different things. And actually, the conditions here that were kind of tricky, also helped me to just focus on my footwork, my shots, and that just kept me busy from thinking about all of that.”