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Iga Swiatek beats Pegula for WTA Finals title, regains No.1 ranking

Iga Swiatek swept past Jessica Pegula with a commanding 6-1, 6-0 victory to clinch the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun title. Monday’s win ensures Swiatek will surpass Aryna Sabalenka to finish as the year-end No.1 for the second straight season.

“Coming back to world number one, it’s a dream come true, for sure,” Swiatek said. “I would say I wasn’t expecting that right now, this season. I was hoping that maybe next year is gonna be my year, but it seems like you know, just working hard and focusing on the right things at the end worked. So I’m really happy.”

Since falling in the Round of 16 at the US Open, where she initially conceded her No.1 ranking, Swiatek has been on a tear. With titles in Beijing and now Cancun, she has won 12 of 13 matches, including 11 straight.

During this stretch, Swiatek has lost only one set, a 95.2% success rate. Including her dominant win versus Pegula, Swiatek also won 71.2% of her games during this period. She has saved 11 of 24 break-points opportunities, while converted 54 of 92.

Swiatek, who captured her tour-leading six title of the season and the 17th of her career, lost just 20 games in Cancun, the most dominant run to the WTA Finals title — by a longshot — since the round-robin format was reintroduced in 2003. The previous benchmark was held by Serena Williams who conceded 32 games in 2012.

Facing Pegula for a fourth time this season, Swiatek, 22, held the overall head-to-head record at 5-3, but the American had beaten her twice this year. Swiatek captured her first title of the season in Doha by dropping only three games to Pegula in the final. She would capture her last title of the season by losing one.

On Monday,  Swiatek broke first for a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The intensity, fast footwork and baseline aggression that were on display in her straightforward win over Sabalenka in the semifinals continued against Pegula.

Swiatek took the first set in a swift 27 minutes, a daunting sign for Pegula, considering Swiatek’s formidable 60-1 record when clinching the opening frame this season. She sustained her momentum, breaking Pegula in the first game of the second.

Swiatek_Hawk-Eye

Hawk-Eye

“She played really solid,” Pegula said. “I felt like she really was putting a lot of pressure on me. And I think I just was overplaying a lot today. I don’t know why. But it just was one of those days where I felt like I was going for too much.”

With Pegula unable to find the consistent depth to bring Swiatek out of her comfort zone, she completed her ruthless display, and in the end, won 11 consecutive games and seal the championship in 59 minutes.

“I’m just really happy and super proud of myself,” Swiatek said. “This week has been not easy, but I feel like it’s a kind of a reflection of the whole season. So I’m just happy that I could cope with everything well, and I kind of used my experience from all these years to perform well here.”

This past week, Swiatek tallied wins against three reigning major champions, posting straight-set victories over Australian Open champion Sabalenka, US Open champion Coco Gauff and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova. She did not lose a single set in Cancun.

Swiatek is the youngest WTA Finals champion since Petra Kvitova won in Istanbul in 2011. She is the second Polish champion at the event after Agnieszka Radwanska won in Singapore in 2015.

Credit: WTA Tour

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