Iga Swiatek tops Aryna Sabalenka to reach WTA Finals title match

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Cancun, Mexico — Iga Swiatek Her first WTA Finals title and eliminator gave herself a shot at the top ranking at the end of the year for no. 1 Arina Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 Sunday in a rain-hungry semifinal.

Second seed Poland’s 22-year-old Swatek will meet fifth seed. Jessica Pegula, a 29-year-old from the United States, for the trophy at the tour’s season-ending championship on Monday. Both players were undefeated during round-robin play and claimed all eight sets they played on the outdoor hard court in Cancun.

“I think it’s still a long way to go,” said Suatek, “because tomorrow’s match should be the toughest.”

The final was scheduled to take place on Sunday, but a series of rains throughout the week continued on Saturday, when Pegula was defeated. Coco Gough In the first semi-final. Second semi-final, Swiatek vs. Sabalenka, stopped in the fourth game.

Sabalenka certainly spoke for everyone involved in the event when he said: “The first big question is: What are we doing here in the middle of hurricane season?”

When they resumed on Sunday, Swatek broke quickly, then jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never really looked back.

“I definitely want to give credit to Iga. He adapted really well to the situation. And on this court, he was definitely better than me,” Sabalenka said. “He’s starting to put so much pressure on me.”

Suitek out-hit the consistently strong Sabalenka, last year’s WTA Finals runner-up, wound up with more winners from the baseline and more, 16-13, while making less than half as many unforced errors, 23-10.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Svitek also saved both break points she faced and Sabalenka won three of her service games.

Sabalenka, who won her first major title at the Australian Open in January, could have assured herself that she would remain at no. Beating Suatek 1. Instead, a win against Pegula would allow Suatek to move up from the no. To regain the top spot she held from 2 April 2022 until this September, when Sabalenka overtook her.

Swiatek carries a 10-match winning streak into Monday; Pegula has won nine in a row.

And they’ve dominated their opponents in a tournament for tennis’ top eight women: Swiatek has dropped just 19 games so far — the fewest at a WTA Finals en route to a final. Justin Henin The same number dropped in 2007 — and only 22 pegulas.

“Overall, I feel like me and Jesse, we played really smart, and we kept really calm. We’re very focused and taking as much as we can out of this match and the conditions,” said Suatek, who is 5-3 head to head. Against the head pegula. “So I really think we both deserve to play in the final.”

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