It’s the final match of the 2023 WTA Tour and its outcome will decide who takes the year-end No. 1 ranking. Iga Swiatek beating Jessica Pegula would help her clinch that, whereas a win for the American would let Aryna Sabalenka stay at the top. Who do you think will prove superior?
WTA Finals Final Prediction
Iga Swiatek vs Jessica Pegula
Head-to-head: Swiatek 5-3
Iga Swiatek’s path to the final hasn’t been entirely straightforward with Marketa Vondrousova and Coco Gauff serving for at least a set each, but she’s been delivering in the key moments. It really couldn’t get any bigger than her semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka, a matchup that could have made the Belarusian the year-end No. 1. But Swiatek delivered a masterclass and remained in the race, needing one more win to secure that goal.
But most importantly she’s battling for the WTA Finals title with Jessica Pegula, who also hasn’t dropped a set so far and picked up a title just before Cancun. The American landed in the more competitive group in the round-robin stage, but managed to deal with both Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, before fending off her doubles partner Coco Gauff in the final four.
Their rivalry has taken an interesting turn this year. In 2022, Swiatek dominated the head-to-head 4-0, dropping just one set. But this season it’s actually Pegula leading 2-1 with a couple of wins at the United Cup and in Canada. In the first one she completely overwhelmed the Pole with her aggression on return, the latter was more of a dogfight three-set thriller.
Swiatek remains the big favorite here, though. The windy conditions in Cancun could cool off Pegula’s flat pace and help the World No. 2 (soon to be No.1?) dictate with her heavy topspin forehand. The American likes it sharp and quick off the ground and she might not get it like that here with the spinner groundstrokes of Swiatek. Especially as since Beijing, the Pole seems to have started putting a much stronger focus on adapting to a particular opponent/match, rather than just playing the same robotic tennis in every scenario.
Prediction: Swiatek in 2
Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports