Iga Swiatek is one match away from winning her first WTA Finals title and regaining the No.1 ranking after easing past Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 6-2 in a rain-suspended semifinal in Cancun.
The semifinal started on Saturday, but heavy showers stopped it in the fourth game. Sabalenka said: “First big question is: What are we doing here in the middle of the hurricane season?” Rain and wind have been a theme throughout the tournament. Players have complained about the organization and the WTA accepted the responsibility for challenging conditions.
Despite bad weather, there will surely be a winner in Cancun. Some players adapt better than others. When the second semifinal resumed on Sunday, Swiatek quickly broke Sabalenka’s serve, established a 4-1 lead and never looked back. The Pole won all four of her matches in Estadio Paradisus, losing a total of just 19 games. Her upcoming opponent, Jessica Pegula, also reached the final with a 4-0 record and without dropping a set.
The upcoming final will also determine the No.1 WTA player in the year-end rankings. If Swiatek wins the title, she will return to the top ranking she held from April 2022 to this September. If she loses, Sabalenka will stay on the No.1 spot and finish the season on top for the first time in her career.
Is Swiatek thinking about the ranking as she prepares for her match against Pegula:
I feel like it’s still a long way away because I feel like tomorrow’s match will be the toughest one. We can talk about it tomorrow after the match. I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing in [recent] days.
Championship match is scheduled for Monday, 4:30 p.m. local time. It will be the ninth career meeting between Swiatek and Pegula. Swiatek leads their head-to-head record 5-3, while Pegula won two of their three encounters in 2023, including their last one in Montreal.