Two months after she was displaced by Aryna Sabalenka as the Hologic WTA Tour’s No. 1-ranked player, Iga Swiatek played with a vengeance and regained the throne Monday.
In a monumental and unprecedented finish to the season, the 22-year-old from Poland defeated Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 in the championship match (in 59 minutes) at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals.
After losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round at the US Open, Swiatek won 13 of 14 matches – and 11 straight to finish as the year-end No. 1 for the second consecutive year, Swiatek said the week’s conditions – consistently breezy and wet – helped her focus on what was really important.
“When I went on court,” she told reporters, “I knew that I had to focus on different things. 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 [the No. 1 ranking].
“So I think today was like a highlight of this mental just being like, narrow with your head, only thinking about the right stuff. And for sure, no, I kind of used all the experience that I gained. So I’m really proud of myself.”
And, we can report, a number of history’s standards in women’s professional tennis fell:
- By conceding only a single game in that last match at the WTA Finals, Swiatek broke the all-time record of two, which belonged to icons Martina Navratilova (1983) and Kim Clijsters (2003).
- Since the round-robin format was revived two decades ago, Swiatek surrendered the fewest games on the way to the WTA Finals – 20. To put this achievement in context, that record belonged to Serena Williams, who lost 32 in 2012.
- Swiatek is the youngest to win the WTA Finals since Petra Kvitova in 2011.
- It’s worth noting that Swiatek first assumed the No. 1 ranking in March 2022 when Australian champion Ashleigh Barty retired. This time, she went and got it.
For the record, this is only the fifth time this century that the No. 1 ranking changed hands at the WTA Finals. The last time was 2009, when Serena took it from Dinara Safina. — By Greg Garber
Credit: ATP Tour