CANCUN, Mexico — No.2 Iga Swiatek will face No.5 Jessica Pegula for the title at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun.
Monday’s title bout will decide the fate of the year-end No.1 ranking. If Swiatek wins her tour-leading sixth title of the season, she will overtake No.1 Aryna Sabalenka to finish in the top spot for the second consecutive season.
Here’s what you need to know about the high-stakes showdown in Cancun.
When is the women’s final?
The finals will both be played on Monday, Nov. 6. The doubles final, which features No.6 Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva against No.8 Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez, will be played at 1:30 pm
The singles final will follow at 4:30 pm
What are the points and prize money at stake?
Points and prize money at the WTA Finals are distributed based on participation and wins. By virtue of going 3-0 in round-robin play, Swiatek and Pegula have each already earned $1,602,000 by making the final. They have also earned 1,080 points.
The WTA Finals champion will add an additional $1,476,000 in prize money and 420 ranking points.
If Swiatek wins, she will finish the year at World No.1.
How did Swiatek and Pegula get here?
Swiatek capped off her regular season with a title run in Beijing, her fifth title of the season. Drawn into the Chetumal Group in Cancun, Swiatek did not lose a set in round-robin play. She defeated Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 7-6(3), 6-0, US Open champion Coco Gauff 6-0, 7-5, and No.6 seed Ons Jabeur 6-1, 6-2. She lost just 14 games. Since the round-robin format was reinstated in 2003, a player has lost fewer than 14 games in group play just twice: Justine Henin and…Swiatek last year.
Into the semifinals, Swiatek kept her bid for the No.1 ranking alive by defeating Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2 in a match that lasted over two days due to rain. The victory extended her current win streak to 10.
Pegula is also streaking. After finishing off her regular season with a title run in Seoul for her second title of the year, Pegula extended her winning streak to nine consecutive matches with her unbeaten run in Cancun. Drawn into the tough Bacalar Group that included Sabalenka and No.4 Rybakina, Pegula did not lose a set.
Pegula’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Sabalenka was her third victory over a reigning No.1 this year, having beaten Swiatek twice on hard courts this year. Along with her wins over No.3 Gauff and No.4 Rybakina, Pegula is now 6-1 against Top 5 opponents this season. A champion in Guadalajara last year, she is now 9-0 in Mexico.
How do they stack up?
Swiatek leads the head-to-head 5-3 but Pegula is one of just two players to defeat Swiatek twice this year. Pegula spent her at the United Cup, winning 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals, and Swiatek avenged the loss a month later during her title run in Doha, where she won 6-3, 6-0 in the final.
Most recently, Pegula and Swiatek faced off in the semifinals in Montreal, where the American edged out a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4.
In Cancun, both women have been in dominant form. Both went undefeated and neither has lost a set. Swiatek has lost 19 games, matching the fewest games dropped en route to the final (Justine Henin, 2007). Pegula has lost just 22.
What’s at stake?
Both players are praying to win the season-ending championships for the first time.
In addition to the World No.1 ranking, Swiatek is bidding for her sixth title of the season and 17th career title. A win would extend her current win streak to 11 matches. She would become the second Polish player to lift the season-ending trophy, joining Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015.
A champion in Warsaw (WTA 250), Doha and Stuttgart (WTA 500), Beijing (WTA 1000) and Roland Garros (Grand Slam), a win at the WTA Finals would give Swiatek a title at every Hologic WTA Tour level this season. The last player to accomplish this feat was Serena Williams in 2014.
If she returns to No.1, Swiatek would become the sixth-youngest player to finish at No.1 in back-to-back seasons. Only Chris Evert in 1976, Steffi Graf in 1988 and 1989, Monica Seles in 1992, Martina Hingis in 2000 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2011 were younger.
Pegula is bidding for her third title of the season and fifth of her career. Having already won two WTA 1000 titles at 2022 Guadalajara and 2023 Montreal, the WTA Finals would be the biggest title of the 29-year-old American’s career. She is looking to become the first American to lift the trophy since Serena Williams in 2014.
Having already posted nine wins over Top 10 opponents this year, Pegula could become the fifth American since 2000 to claim 10 victories in a calendar year, after Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and the last to achieve the feat in 2014, Serena Williams .
What are they saying?
Pegula: “Having two wins over her this year is going to give me a lot of confidence. But again, I think she’s someone where when she’s hot, she can kind of steamroll everybody, and I feel like that’s what she’s doing right now. She’s also I think, probably the best player in the wind in these conditions, because her footwork is so good. And coming off the Beijing win, I think she has a lot of confidence as well.”
Pegula: “I had such a successful year last year, it was hard to imagine making it that much more successful. And I’ve managed to really get my act together at the end of the year, have a great week in Seoul, do well in Asia and then I think I did a good job of carrying that momentum here. I think I improved that a lot compared to last year, where it was a new experience for me, and I wasn’t sure what I was doing or how I was playing. And it’s not fun to leave 0-6. So I’m glad I’m definitely turning the tables this year.”