Iga Swiatek into Final After Win Over Aryna Sabalenka

Looking at her toughest opponent in a match of the greatest importance, Iga Sviatek succinctly recalled her unprecedented brilliance when she dismantled Aryna Sabalenka, the world No. 1, to reach the final of the WTA Finals for the first time.

“I’m very, very happy,” Swiatek said after his 6-3, 6-2 victory. “I think that was the most difficult and also the most beautiful match I played here.”

Sabalenka was one win away from securing the No. 1 ranking at the end of the year for the first time in her career, but with her victory, Sviatek will finish the year as the best player in the world for the second time in a row if she takes the title in Cancun.

In the final, Swiatek will face Jessica Pegula, the fifth seed, who defeated Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the most important final of her career. None of the finalists gave up a set after four games.

Considering that they have established themselves as the defining players this year, this tournament would have been incomplete at the end of the season without Sabalenka and Sviatek meeting for the last time. Their rivalry has been an outstanding spectacle this season, with Sabalenka defeating Sviatek in an instant final of the clásico Abierto de Madrid the last time they met. While Swiatek came into the match with a 5:3 advantage in the head-to-head, Sabalenka has defeated Swiatek in consecutive WTA finals, including the semifinals last year.

The pair were supposed to meet on Saturday, but they only managed to complete three matches before the sky opened and the match was suspended, so the final had to be postponed to Monday. They returned for the semi-finals on Sunday night, with Sviatek narrowly leading 2-1, 30-30 with her serve. After a week of terrible conditions, the wind and rain had subsided, and the conditions allowed both players to swing freely.

Sviatek had the opportunity to act on his own terms, instead of trying to survive the elements, and he soared to the heights. His level and intensity were through the roof from the moment the match started again, he immediately broke serve by winning the first two points of the day.

After the first break was secured and the momentum was established, Sviatek did not relent until the end. She hit the ball so neatly, constantly forced Sabalenka into awkward positions on the court, took control of the baseline and evaporated all short balls. Meanwhile, Sviatek’s flawless return put Sabalenka under constant pressure with her serve.

Whenever Sabalenka managed to break her way above the baseline, Sviatek’s immense movement allowed her to extend the rallies constantly, which forced Sabalenka to take an extra hit.

“It hasn’t been easy all week, so I’m glad I was able to improve even more today and it was certainly difficult, even though he’s 6-3, 6-2. Every point was important and every game was close,” Swiatek said.

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