Swiatek will take on Jessica Pegula in the final on Monday and will finish the year at No.1 if she wins the title.
Iga Swiatek has defeated Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals of the WTA Finals, 6-3, 6-2, to not only reach the final of the season-ending event for the first time, but to get within one win of returning to No. 1.
She’ll face Jessica Pegula in the final on Monday and will finish the year at No. 1 for the second consecutive year if she wins the title.
Swiatek and Sabalenka had actually started their match on Saturday night, and things were moving along swimmingly with Sabalenka serving at 1-2, 30-all, when the rain started and stopped everything.
Play never resumed that night and their match was moved to Sunday.
Swiatek came back out on the court firing, winning two quick points to break for a 3-1 lead and then holding for 4-1, and the two held from there until the world No. 2 had the first set in her pocket.
After two more holds to start the second set, Swiatek struck again, breaking for 2-1—and then, after three more holds, she broke again for 5-2 and then served out the one-hour, 36-minute victory.
“I’m really really happy,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview.
“I think that was the toughest and also the nicest match that I played here, so I’m happy that I could really show you guys my game.
“It hasn’t been easy during the whole week, so I’m happy that today I could really get even better. Even though the score says 6-3, 6-2, every point was important and every game was tight, so I’m happy.”
Swiatek is now on a 10-atch winning streak, going 6-0 to win Beijing and 4-0 so far at the WTA Finals.
Swiatek already has one of the most complete resumes of any active player—four Grand Slam titles and 75 career weeks at No. 1 on the WTA rankings, just to name a few top-line stats. But she still pulled off a few big firsts with her victory over current No. 1 Sabalenka on Sunday.
First of all, she’s through to the final of the WTA Finals for the first time, in her third career appearance at the season-ending event—she fell in the round-robin stage in 2021 and in the semifinals in 2022.
But more importantly, her win over Sabalenka was actually her first career win over a reigning No. 1—she’s had wins over every other Top 10 ranking but hadn’t even played a reigning No. 1 since January 2022 as she was ranked No. 1 herself for most of the last two years.
IGA SWIATEk VS REIGNING WORLD NO.1s (now 1-2):
l. to No. 1 Barty in 2021 Madrid 3rd Rd, 7-5, 6-4
l. to No.1 Barty in 2022 Adelaide-1 SFs, 6-2, 6-4
d. No.1 Sabalenka in 2023 WTA Finals SFs, 6-3, 6-2