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Iga Świątek celebrates after winning the WTA Finals title in Mexico.
Iga Świątek swept aside Jessica Pegula to win the WTA Finals on Monday and return to the top of the world rankings.
The 22-year-old straight-sets winner – 6-1 6-0 – needed less than an hour to beat his American opponent in a rain-delayed final in Cancún, Mexico.
The win means Świątek replaces Aryna Sabalenka as world No. 1, who claimed the position at this year’s US Open.
“Coming back to world number one, it’s a dream come true, for sure,” said Swiatek to reporters after winning her first WTA Finals title.
“I will say that I did not expect that today, at this time. I’m hoping that maybe next year will be my year, but it seems like you know, working and focusing on the right things is finally working. So I’m really happy.”
Since his last 16 loss at the US Open, Świątek has won 12 of the 13 matches he’s played, taking titles at the China Open and now Cancún.
Świątek was undefeated at the $9 million year-end championship – underscoring his current dominance of the game – with Pegula failing to make a dent in the Pole’s game.
“I want to thank my team for being with me throughout the season,” added Swiatek during the trophy ceremony.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs but it’s definitely an upswing, and we’ll have more if we keep working like that.”
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Jessica Pegula couldn’t match Świątek’s quality in the final.
Both women have not lost a set at this year’s WTA Finals, but Świątek quickly changed the dynamic of the final as the French Open champion raced out of the blocks to wrap up the first set in just 27 minutes.
The second set proved to be bleaker for Pegula, where the world No. 5 failed to win a match.
“She played really solid,” said Pegula after the final.
“I felt like he was really pushing me. And I think I’m playing too much right now. I don’t know why.
“It was just one of those days where I felt like I wanted too much.”
The final was originally scheduled for Sunday, but bad weather meant the match was pushed back a day.
It ended a controversial WTA Finals, with players unhappy with the organization of the event, run by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
There were many complaints from the stars during the tournament, with Sabalenka the first to express her anger by saying that she felt “disrespected” at the level of the organization and the “unsafe” standard of those court
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova told Amazon Prime that “it may be time for new leadership” at the head of the WTA, with the organisation’s chief Steve Simon under increasing pressure.
In an open letter to the players leaked to Sports Illustrated, Simon said the decision to choose Cancún as the host venue “was based on a number of complex factors.”
“It is clear that you are not happy with the decision to come to Cancún,” the letter read. “I understand that and hear you.
“It was not a perfect event, we know the conditions are a challenge and the WTA takes responsibility for that.”
In a statement to CNN after the tournament, the WTA said it was “founded by the players aiming to bring together all of professional women’s tennis in one tour, and the players are always the same creators. a decision to ensure a strong direction for women’s tennis.”
It added: “The strength of the players’ voices … has helped drive tremendous growth for the Tour and helped the WTA deliver an increase of $400 million in player compensation over the next 10 years.” , which maintains the WTA’s position as the leading women’s sports organization worldwide.
“We are proud of these efforts and also know that there is more work to be done. Changes may take time, but everything we do is a direct result of collaboration and open dialogue.
“As we shared with the players, the WTA is actively implementing specific improvements, and we are committed to reviewing the suggestions from the players while maintaining a strong future for the Tour and tennis in women.”
While not perfect, it was a special tournament for four-time grand slam champion Świątek.
He thanked his fans in Mexico for braving the stormy conditions and supporting him throughout his career.
“Thank you for coming and cheering us on. You make it special. Thanks to all these Polish flags and the Polish people for coming to every tournament, but in general from many countries,” said Świątek, addressing the fans in his victory speech.
“Every year I feel that I have more support and it keeps me pushing for more.”