Iga Swiatek beat Aryna Sabalenka over the course of two days to reach the WTA Finals, putting her through to the final against Jessica Pegula. The 22-year-old Pole had little difficulty in claiming victory in straight sets, and not only does it give her the title for the first time in her career, but it returns her to the No. 1 spot she lost to Sabalenka earlier in 2023.

Iga Swiatek says she has learnt to live with the pressure of holding and chasing the world No. 1 ranking, after thrashing Jessica Pegula to win the WTA Finals for the first time.
Poland’s four-time Grand Slam champion beat the American 6-1 6-0 in a delayed decider in Cancun, which had been pushed back from Sunday due to rain in Mexico.
The win sees Swiatek take back the world No. 1 ranking from Aryna Sabalenka and she will once again end the year in that position, having won her 68th match of the season – one more than her successful 2022 campaign.

That is the most victories in one year since Serena Williams managed 79 in 2013.
Swiatek has spoken about how the world No. 1 ranking weighed heavy when she first achieved it, but after feeling like something of an imposter, she now knows she deserves her place.
She said: “2022 was so amazing that I don’t know if it’s going to be possible for me to repeat a season like that.
“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 has become just the fourth player to win the WTA Finals before the age of 23, joining Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova. She did it in dominant fashion, dropping 20 games throughout her five matches at the tournament, the fewest any player has managed since the round-robin format was brought in 20 years ago.
On top of that, she achieved her 20th bagel (6-0 set) of the season – making her the first player to reach that number of whitewashes in consecutive campaigns since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles in 1991-92.

“The conditions here were kind of tricky – it helped me to just focus on my footwork, my shots, and that just kept me busy from thinking about all of that,” she added.
“Coming back to world No. 1, it’s a dream come true for sure. I would say I wasn’t expecting that right now this season. I was kind of hoping that maybe next year is going to be my year.
“But it seems like I’m just working hard and focusing on the right things and work. So I’m really happy.”

Swiatek will skip the Billie Jean King Cup Finals for Poland, with her next major challenge just over two months away – when she will look to win the Australian Open for the first time.


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