Iga Swiatek back on top of the world after demolishing Jessica Pegula in the WTA Finals

Iga Swiatek continued her path to becoming one of the greatest players of her era when she defeated Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 to win the WTA Finals for the first time in her young career.

With her sixth title of the season and 17th overall, the 22-year-old will finish 2023 as No. 1 for the second consecutive season, overtaking Aryna Sabalenka with a win in Cancun. The coming week marks her 76th run at No. 1, a tally that puts her 10th on the all-time list of weeks at the top spot.

Fifth seed Pegula had arrived in her first WTA Finals final in brilliant form after dismantling all four opponents along the way. Her 2-1 record against Swiatek this year demonstrated her growth. But when Swiatek is in full swing, almost no one can live with her.

From the start, the Pole overwhelmed Pegula with her vicious, heavy blows, her brutal topspin forehand tearing apart the American’s defense. Swiatek’s greater speed and athleticism gave her an edge on each extended point and she returned spectacularly, taking Pegula’s serve off the ball.

As Pegula tried to find a solution against Swiatek’s suffocating excellence, she took more and more risks, her mistakes piled up and the finish line came quickly. It’s incredible how Swiatek has defeated so many of the world’s best players over the past two years, often saving her most lopsided victories for the finals. Even during one of the best weeks of her entire career, Pegula was not exempt.

Iga Swiatek is presented with a tray of cupcakes to mark her status as number 1 at the end of the year. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

After losing just 20 matches in her five matches last week, Swiatek’s title run is by far the most dominant in WTA Finals history. Serena Williams previously held the record with 32 matches lost during her 2012 victory.

This year has been extremely challenging at times for Swiatek as she has tried to follow up on her spectacular 2022 season and all the pressure that comes with it. After losing her No. 1 ranking with a fourth-round defeat to Jelena Ostapenko at the US Open in September, she admitted she struggled to play with freedom.

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Having overcome these challenges, Swiatek ends the season in an even stronger position. Yet she finishes with a remarkable record of 68-11, six titles, including her fourth major at the French Open and now the WTA Finals, and with her status as the very best player in the world restored beyond doubt.