CANCUN, Mexico — Iga Swiatek defeated world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 in the GNP Seguro WTA final on Sunday.
If Swiatek wins Monday’s championship match against Jessica Pegula, she will regain the top spot she relinquished two months ago and end the year as No. 1 for the second consecutive time. If Pegula wins, Sabalenka will win the title for the first time in her career.
It was only the fifth time this century that a No. 1 finish had occurred at the WTA Finals, the last of which occurred in 2009 when Serena Williams caught Dinara Safina at the finish line.
Swiatek currently has a 6-3 career record against Sabalenka and has won all four of her matches at Paradisus Arena, all against top-10 players. Going back to the recent championship match in Beijing, Swiatek has won 10 consecutive victories.
The 22-year-old from Poland has lost only 18 games in total in Cancun. Pegula, meanwhile, is also 4-0, having won all of her first 10 matches in straight sets. She is the first to face No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 players in the same event since the WTA Tour rankings were created in 1975, and of course, she may also be the first to beat them. people.
Swiatek has won a total of 67 games this year, one less than her stellar 2022 season.
The game resumed on Sunday and 18 minutes into the match, Sabalenka served to tie the first set at 2-30. Swiatek needed just two points to break his serve, setting the tone for the rest of the match.
Swiatek’s serve was winning, and he hit a sharp backhand line shot with Sabalenka unable to catch up and sent a long forehand run. Although the wind wasn’t as strong as it had been all week, it was still a factor. Sabalenka lost her balance several times while swinging from the baseline. Swiatek’s footwork is flawless and rarely looks out of sync.
The third game of the second set was a test of will, and Swiatek won. She converted her fourth break point thanks to another Sabalenka error. Then, in the seventh game, Swiatek broke Sabalenka for the third time in the game and finally won the game.