Iga Swiatek gave herself a shot at her first WTA Finals title and the top ranking at the end of the year by ending the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday’s rain-suspended semifinal.
Second seed Swiatek, 22, from Poland, will meet fifth seed Jessica Pegula, 29, from the United States, on Monday for the tour’s season-ending trophy. Both players were undefeated during the playoffs and claimed all eight sets they played on the outdoor hard court in Cancun.
The final was due to take place on Sunday, but a series of showers continued throughout the week on Saturday, when Pegula defeated Coco Gauff in the first semi-final. But the second semi-final, Swiatek vs Sabalenka, was stopped in the fourth game.
When they resumed on Sunday, Swiatek broke quickly, then moved out to a 4-1 lead and never really looked back.
She consistently outplayed the powerful Sabalenka, last year’s WTA Finals runner-up, from the baseline and finished with more winners, 16-13, and making less than half as many unforced errors, 23 -10.
Swiatek, a four-time Grand Slam champion, saved the two break points she faced and won three Sabalenka service games.
Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in January for her first major title, could ensure she remains at No. 1 by beating Swiatek. Instead, a win over Pegula would allow Swiatek to move up from No. 2 to regain the top she had from April 2022 to next September, when Sabalenka caught her.
Swiatek carries a 10-game winning streak into Monday; Pegula has won nine in a row.
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