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Iga Swiatek back on top of world after WTA Finals demolition of Jessica Pegula

Iga Swiatek continued on the path to becoming one of the greatest players of her time as she demolished 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 the No 1 for the second consecutive season, overtaking Aryna Sabalenka with victory in Cancún. The coming week will mark her 76th at No 1, a count that places her 10th on the list of all-time weeks in top spot.

Iga Swiatek beats Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 to win WTA Finals – as it happenedRead more

Pegula, the fifth seed, had arrived in her first final at the WTA Finals in brilliant form having dismantled all four opponents en route. Her 2-1 record against Swiatek this year demonstrated her growth. When Swiatek is in full flow, though, almost nobody can live with her.

From the outset, the Pole overwhelmed Pegula with her vicious, heavy strokes, her brutal topspin forehand picking the American’s defence apart. Swiatek’s greater speed and athleticism provided her with the edge on every extended point and she returned spectacularly, eviscerating Pegula’s serve.

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

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Iga Swiatek is presented with a tray of cupcakes to mark her status as the year-end No 1.Iga Swiatek is presented with a tray of cupcakes to mark her status as the year-end No 1. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Having dropped just 20 games in her five matches over the past week, Swiatek’s title run is by far the most dominant in the history of the WTA Finals. Serena Williams previously held the record with 32 games lost during her 2012 triumph.

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

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