Iga Swiatek's nine-year first in shock WTA Finals drama: 'Take a bow'

Aryna Sabalenka (pictured left) celebrating and (pictured right) Iga Swiatek frustrated.
Aryna Sabalenka (pictured left) ended Iga Swiatek's (pictured right) remarkable season at the WTA Finals. (Getty Images)

Iga Swiatek's historic 2022 season is now officially over after she lost to Aryna Sabalenka in the WTA Finals in Fort Worth.

Swiatek entered the WTA Finals as the heavy favourite after one of the best season's in women's tennis history, but was knocked out 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 after a stellar performance from Sabalenka.

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Swiatek, the French Open and US Open champion and runaway leader with eight tour victories, cruised through three round-robin victories, losing just 13 games to give her the longest winning run against top-10 opponents since Steffi Graf won 17 straight in 1987.

But it was suddenly brought to a halt when the 21-year-old from Poland lost the last five games against a player she had beaten in all four meetings this season.

Remarkably, Swiatek has enjoyed one of the best season's in history.

The Polish star went on a 37-run winning streak, which was the best this century.

She won two grand slam titles and four WTA Masters 1,000s.

And she finished with the second most WTA ranking points in a single season since Serena Williams' astonishing 2013 season.

And Swiatek admitted fatigue after the season following her defeat.

"Not gonna lie, I've been waiting for this moment," she told the WTA after her final match of the season.

"It was pretty hard to see the finish line but still be fully motivated and ready for every match."

The tennis world was quick to laud Swiatek's performance in 2022 after the 21-year-old confirming the WTA Finals was the end of her season.

Aryna Sabalenka advances at WTA Finals

Following the victory, Sabalenka admitted she wanted to make it as hard as possible for the World No.1.

"I just want to make sure that every time she plays against me, she knows that she really has to work hard to get a win," Sabalenka said.

"Only because of this thinking, I was able to play at this amazing level tonight."

Swiatek fell behind one break in the final set with two wide forehands before another one put her down two breaks.

Just 24 hours after beating Daria Kasatkina in a tense 80-minute third set to secure the last spot in the semi-finals out of group play, Garcia needed just 74 minutes total for a career-best fourth victory over a top-five opponent this season.

Garcia never trailed, dominating the fifth-ranked Sakkari in winners (21-8) and aces (6-0).

Amelie Mauresmo (2005) is the only woman from France to have won the WTA Finals.

Aryna Sabalenka (pictured) thanks the crowd.
Aryna Sabalenka (pictured) celebrates after defeating Iga Swiatek at the WTA Finals. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

"I don't know," Garcia said when asked where she found the energy to dominate after the quick turnaround.

"Yesterday, I was a little bit tired, but it was nothing unusual after such a big match."

Garcia has advanced out of group play in both WTA Finals appearances. The 29-year-old lost in the semi-finals in the eight-player event five years ago.

"I guess I'm five years older, maybe five years wiser," said the sixth-ranked Garcia, who was No.74 about this time last year.

"You try to learn from everything. I've got a good team behind me, supporting me when I was a little bit doubting myself."

with AAP

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