Iga Swiatek sets a host of records to claim WTA Finals title in Cancun
Iga Swiatek confirmed her return to the top of the WTA rankings with a stunning victory against Jessica Pegula in the WTA Final – and she broke a host of records en route to her clinical success in Cancun.
The Polish star had far too much power for No 5 seed Pegula in a final held over to Monday due to persistent bad weather during the tournament.
Pegula had started solidly on her serve but swiftly unravelled, as Swiatek ruthlessly punished her American opponent’s errors to break twice in succession then serve out to love to take the opening set.
A series of unforced errors gifted Swiatek the opening game of the second set and by the time Pegula was broken again – this time to love – to fall 3-0 behind, her body language already indicated the tie was all but over.
Pegula carved out her first and only break point of the match when Swiatek served for the title at 5-0, but hit a backhand into the net and the Pole duly served to take the title with 59 minutes on the clock.
Her victory sealed a sixth WTA title of the year for Swiatek, who also won her third French Open, while Pegula will end a year that saw her reach two grand slam quarter-finals ranked fifth.
It concluded a troubled tournament which drew criticism from the eight leading women players for its problematic build-up, with the temporary venue only completed with one day to spare.
The statistics carved out by Swiatek in Cancun highlighted her dominance in a week when her biggest obstacle was the wild and windy conditions in Mexico:
* Swiatek’s second set against Pegula was her 21st 6-0 winningest of 2023.
* Since the reintroduction of the round-robin format in 2003, Swiatek (20 games) became the first player to concede fewer than 25 games on her way to winning the WTA Finals. Justine Henin had held the record with 34 games lost en route to the title in 2007.
* She has now won 17 titles in her career after clinching her first WTA Finals crown.
* Swiatek won a staggering 51 points from the 72 played in a one-sided final in Cancun.
* The victory saw Swiatek claim her sixth win in nine meetings against Pegula.
They are statistics that confirm Swiatek’s dominance the final week of in the final week of the WTA Tour season and she gave her verdict on her win.
“Thank you for all these Polish flags and all these Polish people coming to every tournament, but also from many countries,” declared Swiatek as she lifted the WTA Finals trophy.
“Even though this week wasn’t easy, you made it special for us. Jess, I want to congratulate you for the whole season. Playing against you has never been easy. Hopefully we will both progress and play many more finals together.
“Thanks to the team that’s been with me the whole season. We had many ups and downs. This is for sure an up. We will for sure have many more if we keep working like that.”
The debate over the weather and organisation troubles at the WTA Finals in Cancun will rage on for some time and the leaders of the WTA have big questions to answer.
Yet there is no doubt that the final chapter of this season had the shining star of the women’s game confirming she is back to her brilliant best.
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