Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jessica Pegula of the US in Cancun, Mexico, on Monday. Reuters
Poland’s Iga Swiatek thrashed Jessica Pegula to win the WTA Finals on Monday, sealing her return to world number one.
Second seed Swiatek dominated Pegula from start to finish to clinch a 6-1, 6-0 victory in a 59-minute masterclass. The 17th win of Swiatek’s career ensures that the four-time major singles champion from Warsaw will finish the season as world number one for a second straight year.
The Pole broke Pegula five times and won the final 11 games in a 59-minute slaughter to capture her first WTA Finals title in a match delayed by a day due to rain.
“The team that’s been with me the whole season, we had many ups and downs,” a jubilant Swiatek said after her win. “This is for sure an up. We will for sure have many more if we keep working like that,” added Swiatek, who lost just 20 games across the tournament — a new record.
Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her final match against Jessica Pegula in Cancun, Mexico. Reuters
"I want to thank my team who have been with me for the whole season," Swiatek said during the trophy ceremony. "We've had many ups and downs but this is for sure an up, and we'll have many more if we keep working like that." She also thanked the fans that endured countless rain delays and gusting winds over the course of the event at the coastal Mexican resort town. "Thank you guys for coming and cheering for us, you really made it special," she said.
"Thank you for all these Polish flags and Polish people who are coming to every tournament and those from many countries. Every year I feel like I have more and more support."
Pegula had few complaints about her defeat after an error-strewn display. “It just was one of those days where I felt like I was going for too much,” Pegula said. “And she was just playing super solid.”
Swiatek, 22, had beaten outgoing world number one Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals on Sunday. Sabalenka took over the number one ranking from Swiatek following the US Open in September.
Iga Swiatek reacts after winning her final match against Jessica Pegula in Cancun.
Pegula defeated Swiatek in the two players’ previous meeting in Montreal in August, and had impressed on her way to Monday’s final, which had been shunted back 24 hours after wet weather washed out play on Saturday. But the 29-year-old American from New York never looked capable of pulling off a repeat of her Canadian victory against three-time French Open champion Swiatek, who was sharper in every facet of her game.
The Polish star dominated on serve, and pulled Pegula all over the court with whipped groundstrokes that left her opponent flailing.
Pegula also struggled on serve, being broken five times while coughing up 23 unforced errors compared to Swiatek’s six. Swiatek — who gave up only one break point opportunity in the entire match, which Pegula was unable to convert — sealed victory in the sixth game of the second set when the American pulled a backhand return long.
Swiatek took control of Monday’s contest early on, breaking Pegula in the fourth game for 3-1 before holding and breaking again for a 5-1 lead.
She served out to love to claim the first set and then carried that momentum into the second set. She broke Pegula twice in the first three games of the second set, and then held comfortably for a 4-0 lead.
Pegula — who won just seven points on first serve through the match — suffered another break to leave Swiatek on the brink. Loud cheers erupted for Pegula when she finally managed to earn her first break point of the match on Swiatek’s serve. But Swiatek quickly got it back to deuce and then moved to match point by crushing a forehand winner with Pegula stranded, before wrapping up victory on the next point after another errant groundstroke from the American.
Agence France-Presse / Reuters
The 20-year-old picked up her 23rd straight victory as she added Stuttgart to title wins in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami. Swiatek was relentless, breaking Sabalenka's serve twice in the opening set, then greeting every point won with a clenched fist of celebration to seal a 6-2, 6-2 win.
The 26-year-old Haddad Maia beat a top-ranked player for the first time to become the first Brazilian woman to advance to the quarterfinal of a WTA 1000 tournament.
Held from Dec.19-24, ticket holders will see their favourite players in action, and can then also enjoy post-match concerts from six award-winning acts; Tiesto, deadmau5, Wizkid, Armin van Buuren, Mohamed Ramadan and Ne-Yo.
Both teams will first meet in two 50-over warm-up games on Dec.25 and 27 respectively, and is followed by three T20Is scheduled to be played on Dec.29 and 31, plus on Jan.2 at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.
Leaders Al Wasl will look to consolidate their position on the top of the table when they take on rivals Al Wahda in their Round 10 match of the Pro League on Friday.
CEO Mauro Gianetti emphasised the team's role in driving positive social impact and supporting the UAE's decarbonisation goals through a comprehensive sustainability programme.