Records and Iga Swiatek go hand in hand. In her early days as an upcoming player, the Polish prodigy went undefeated in seven ITF finals. Her 37-match winning streak is the longest in the 21st century and the 12th longest in the Open Era.
While an unexpected exit at the US Open coupled with losing the world No. 1 ranking to Aryna Sabalenka may have dampened her spirits, Iga ensured that she would spring back to form in style at the WTA Finals in Cancun, a tournament where she broke five records.
Records tumble as Iga Swiatek dominates WTA finals
Entering the WTA Finals in Cancun as world no. 2, Iga Swiatek was in top form, having just clinched the China Open title. A sumptuous meeting between her and Sabalenka, the WTA’s top two professionals, was on the cards as Swiatek swept through the roster with ferocity.
After thumping Sabalenka in the semifinals, Iga Swiatek showed no mercy to her American opponent Jessica Pegula in the finals and triumphed 6-1, 6-0 in a bagel-filled afternoon that saw her take home a whopping $3,078,000 in prize money.
The records broken through the tournament were seemingly unsurmountable, yet Iga managed to make magic happen in Mexico. Firstly, her final win against Pegula saw the largest margin victory in the history of the finals of the event, surpassing Martina Navratilova’s 6-2, 6-0 defeat of Chris Evert.
Through the tournament, Iga Swiatek dropped just 20 games, which broke the record for the fewest games dropped. Serena Williams (32) held the previous record. The 22-year-old also became only the third player to win matches across all levels in a calendar year: Paris (Grand Slam), Beijing (WTA 1000), Doha (WTA 500) and Warsaw (WTA 250).
Iga Swiatek also found herself on a list of greats such as Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova. She became the fourth player to win the WTA Finals before turning 23. And finally, Iga became the sixth-youngest player to finish consecutive seasons as world no. 1.
Swiatek reclaims world number one ranking
Iga Swiatek claimed a moral and actual victory over Aryna Sabalenka in the race to the number one ranking. Not only did she defeat the Belarusian, but she also reclaimed her world No. 1 ranking with aplomb.
Iga was naturally chuffed to bits with her accolade and called it a “dream come true” to become world no. 1 again.
“Returning to world no. 1 is definitely a dream come true. I would say that after this season I didn’t expect to return to this position at the end of the year, I was already thinking about next year and doing well again,” Swiatek told reporters in Mexico.
Iga Swiatek was also appreciative of her opponent’s caliber, stating that Pegula was hard on her.
“Pegula was pretty solid, she played putting pressure on me from start to finish. She was hard on me, but I don’t know why. But it was one of those days where I felt in difficulty and I can’t understand the real reason,” she added.
Swiatek closed the press conference with a note about the future, saying she wished 2023 was a sign of positive things to come.
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