Iga Swiatek routs Jessica Pegula, clinches World No. 1
Posted on: 07 Nov, 2023 at 05:03 AM
Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Iga Swiatek of Poland will finish the year ranked No. 1 in the world after dominating American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 Monday in the championship match of the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.
Swiatek, 22, who swept world No. 1 and top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals, will finish the year as the world's top ranked player for the second straight year.
She said she didn't want the possibility of the ranking to impact her play.
"It did a little bit -- it's hard not to think about stuff like that -- but actually, when I went on court, I knew that I had to focus on different things," Swiatek said. "And actually, 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 all of that."
In the 59-minute final, Swiatek took control with the opening set tied 1-1, winning the next 11 games as she controlled the baseline and forced Pegula to make mistakes.
Swiatek won 81.8 percent of her points on her first serve (18 of 22) and 68.8 percent (11 of 16) on her second serves.
Extending her winning streak to 11 matches, Swiatek won all 10 sets she played and lost only 20 games, the fewest by the tournament winner since 2003.
Pegula knew nothing would be easy.
"She's been, in my mind, the one to beat the last couple years," Pegula said. "She's showing that even when she loses some matches or doesn't win the tournament, that she's still bouncing right back and is playing at a high level every single week."
Swiatek, who is 68-11 this year with six trophies, is also the youngest WTA Finals champion since Petra Kvitova, who was 21 when she won in 2011. Swiatek won the French Open this season -- her third championship at Roland Garros -- for her fourth Grand Slam title.
Pegula, 29, who hadn't dropped a set in the tournament until Monday, defeated U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-1 to reach the final and was on a nine-match winning streak.
--Field Level Media