WTA Finals: Year-end world No. 1 ranking up for grabs for Iga Świątek as she faces Jessica Pegula in rain-delayed final

The world’s eight best tennis players have been whittled down to just two at the WTA Finals, with Poland’s Iga Świątek and US star Jessica Pegula facing off in Monday’s rain-delayed final for a chance to win the prestigious season-ending title.

The final was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday, but the WTA’s last-minute decision to host the Finals in Cancún, Mexico during rainy season backfired after bad weather during the semifinal between Świątek and Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday meant the match didn’t finish until the following day.

Cancún was chosen as the host city less than two months before the start of the Finals, a tournament that only the world’s top eight singles players and top eight doubles pairs qualify for.

“It is clear you are not happy with the decision to be here in Cancún,” the letter read. “I understand that and you have been heard.

“It is not a perfect event, we understand the conditions are a challenge and the WTA accepts responsibility for that.”

On the court, Świątek can secure the year-end world No. 1 ranking with victory over Pegula. If she loses, however, Sabalenka will end the year as the world’s top-ranked player for the first time in her career.

Both players were totally dominant in their immensely impressive semifinal victories, Świątek beating world No. 2 Sabalenka and Pegula dismantling doubles partner Coco Gauff.

Świątek currently owns a 5-3 head-to-head lead over Pegula, but the American came out on top the last time the two faced off in the Canadian Open semifinals in August.

“Obviously, with Iga, I think having two wins over her this year is going to give me a lot of confidence,” Pegula told reporters, per the WTA.

“But I think she’s someone where when she’s hot, she can kind of steamroll everybody and I feel like that’s what she’s doing right now.”

After losing all three of her Finals matches in 2022, Pegula has returned this year with a vengeance and is yet to drop a set en route the final. The 29-year-old is now just one win away from the biggest title of her career.

But Świątek has once again enjoyed a stunning season, winning more matches (67) and more titles (5) than any other player on tour, per the WTA.

Though Świątek will no doubt be the favorite ahead of the match, the four-time grand slam champion knows just how dangerous her opponent – who won the Korea Open ahead of these Finals – can be.

“She’s just solid, really good at everything,” Swiatek said, per the WTA. “Also, I think she’s mature and uses that. But I know what I can do. I’ll be ready.”


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