Intractable and expeditious, Iga Swiatek won the WTA Masters for the first time, beating the American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 on Monday in Cancun (Mexico), to better regain the place of world No.1. With a cannonball end to the season, a month after her victory at the WTA 1000 in Beijing, the 22-year-old Pole is guaranteed to finish 2023 at the top of the planetary hierarchy for the second year in a row.
She dislodges Aryna Sabalenka, whom she sharply eliminated the day before in the semi-final of the event (6-3, 6-2), thus taking a double revenge on the Belarusian, who had beaten her at the same stage of the Masters last year and took control of the rankings in September 2023. Swiatek, who succeeds Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in the rankings of this tournament bringing together the eight best players of the year, won the 17th title of her career, the 6th this season which notably saw her win at Roland-Garros.
She made short work of Pegula in a final, initially scheduled for Sunday but postponed due to rain, and finally won without batting an eyelid in barely an hour. “This week was not easy,” admitted the Pole at the end of this tournament which was complicated by rain and wind. The champion also thanked the presence of “all Polish flags” and “the increasing support from other countries”.
It was the ninth meeting between the two players, with six victories for the Pole against three for the American. “Jessica, I want to congratulate you on your great season, playing against you was not easy and I think we will continue to progress,” said the European who has already faced the American four times in 2023.
Pegula, 29 years old and world No.5, had nevertheless beaten the Pole during their previous confrontation in August in Montreal. But Swiatek was then in the trough of a less constant season than the previous one, playing much less dashing tennis than that offered in recent weeks. The four-time winner of Majors left only one game to her rival, which has never been done in the history of the event. In 2003, the Belgian Kim Clijsters barely swept away the Frenchwoman Amélie Mauresmo 6-2, 6-0 in the final.