FORT WORTH, Texas -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek's remarkable 2022 season is over. The top seed at the WTA Finals bowed out to Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, taking just her ninth loss in an season that spanned over 11 months.
"I'm not gonna lie to you, I've been waiting for that moment," Swiatek said, reflecting on the end of her season. "Because last week, basically it was pretty hard to see the finish line but still be fully motivated and ready for every match. On one hand, I'm sad that I lost, but on the other hand, I have one more day off. That's something on the bright side.
"This season has been so intense and I'm so proud of myself that I could play so well till the end of it. I'm happy that it's done."
The numbers surrounding the 21-year-old's 2022 campaign will fill an extraordinary chapter. She captured a tour-leading eight titles -- the most since Serena Williams' 11 in 2013 -- and posted a century-best 37-match win streak that left her unbeaten for 135 days, more than a third of the season. Her loss to Sabalenka snapped a 15-match win streak against Top 10 opposition. In the last 40 years, only Martina Navratilova (20) and Stefanie Graf (17) had more.
Swiatek will finish the year with 11,085 ranking points, the most since Serena Williams' 13,615 in 2013. In fact, since the WTA introduced ranking points, Swiatek's season-ending total is second to only Serena's 13,260 in 2013.
The Polish star still can't believe what how this season unfolded.
"It's just crazy that it happens," Swiatek said. "It's that kind of thing that is gonna stay with you for the rest of your career. And it's something to be proud of. Even though I lost today, I'm going to try to enjoy everything."
That Swiatek's stats keep running up against Serena's is a testament to the heights she reached this year. She posted 22 6-0 sets, the most since Serena's 25 in 2013 season. Her domination was evident in her 48 straight-set wins this year, the most, again, since Serena. She finishes the year with a 68-9 record, the most wins in a single season since, you guessed it, Serena.
"I want to spend eight days not thinking about anything and not doing anything," Swiatek said. "That's the first time I'm gonna have a vacation like that because usually I went to places where I could do sightseeing, and I still had an active vacation.
"Slowly I'm going to kind of come back to work. And then I'm sure that we're gonna start some easy practice sessions. So, yeah, a lot of time. And I'm happy about it."
Swiatek's 47 hard-court wins are the fifth-highest tally since 2000 and the most since 2013. Only Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Agnieszka Radwansk and Jelena Jankovic had more in this century. Swiatek conceded only 13 games in her run to her first semifinal at the WTA Finals, a number bested -- in the modern round-robin era -- by only Justine Henin's 11 in 2007.
Her streak through the season saw her win two more major titles, at Roland Garros and the US Open, taking her total to three. In the spring she became the youngest player to complete the Sunshine Double and win Indian Well and Miami back-to-back.
Swiatek won 40 of her first 45 matches as a World No.1. Since 2000, it is a mark matched only by Henin and bested by Serena, who won 42 of her first matches as a World No.1.
It's a heady set of statistics for Swiatek, but for now, it's a race to rest and recuperate before she gets back to padding her stats once again.
"I'm just gonna really relax because I actually needed to learn how to do that," Swiatek said. "Last year was the first time that I was able to kind of cut off everything and recover well. I'm gonna try to do it again this year, because it's not that easy when you're constantly playing and your brain is used to competing.
"I want to get the adrenaline low and just chill out. maybe try to use the success that I had during the preseason. But also, it's gonna be pretty important for me to be focused on practicing and usually preseason is that kind of period where I'm dead and tired. So I'm not planning anything spectacular."