Editor's note: This week, we looked at the road each of the eight singles players and eight doubles teams took to qualify for this year's GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun in Mexico.
Iga Swiatek: Season at a glance
After a dominant 2022, expectations were sky-high for Iga Swiatek this year. With peaks and valleys this year, Swiatek did not quite match that performance. Nevertheless, the Polish star managed to uphold her historic achievements, securing an impressive five singles titles, leading the tour in victories this year.
Swiatek started the year solidly but was playing catchup in the Race to the Finals from the jump, with Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina moving in front during the winter hard-court season. Swiatek also took multiple defeats on clay as she approached Roland Garros, which did not happen in 2022.
Nevertheless, Swiatek was able to withstand immense pressure, both external and internal, to defend her Roland Garros title, winning the event for the third time in the past four years. Swiatek holds a 28-2 career win-loss record at Roland Garros.
“This [Roland Garros] was a little bit tougher in terms [of] injuries and the pressure and also coming back to this tournament as a defending champion,” Swiatek said after her Paris victory. “I needed to really handle that. I'm super happy that I managed to do that.”
- Leads the Hologic WTA Tour this season in titles won (5) and matches won (63)
- Captured fourth Grand Slam title at Roland Garros -- first woman to defend Roland Garros title since Justine Henin in 2007
- Claimed sixth WTA 1000 title of career in Beijing and made WTA 1000 finals in Dubai and Madrid
- Reached 75 weeks at World No.1 in her career -- third longest streak among players in their first stint at World No.1
- By making Wimbledon quarterfinals, she has now reached the quarterfinals or better at all four Grand Slams
A career-best quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon and a title on home soil in Warsaw highlighted Swiatek’s summer, but she fell in the fourth round of her US Open title defense -- and with that, Sabalenka surpassed her as World No.1, ending Swiatek’s 75-week stretch at the summit.
And yet, Swiatek did not lose her determination to finish the year on a high note. For her most recent tournament, Swiatek traveled to China for the first time in her professional career, where she took home the Beijing title -- her first WTA 1000 title in more than a year.
“I'm really happy that I just focused on hard work,” Swiatek said after her Beijing victory. “It kind of paid off -- maybe not instantly, but I'm happy that after the US Open I just got back to basics and just worked really hard tennis-wise. I'll just continue to do that. Winning this trophy is something that will teach me kind of a lesson for the rest of my life.”
Swiatek will carry that lesson into Cancun, where either she or Sabalenka will capture the year-end World No.1 ranking. Swiatek is only 630 points behind Sabalenka, so a deep run could be enough to help her reclaim the top spot.
“If I would become World No.1 again, for sure I think I would be kind of more prepared for everything,” Swiatek said in Beijing. “But for sure the first thing is getting there. I'll just try to do that. For now, step by step.”