Swiatek will begin her 76th week as World No. 1 after adapting better than everybody else in Cancun, Mexico, where she emerged triumphant at the end of a chaotic week at the year-end championships.
Just 630 points separated the world's top two players heading to the final WTA event of the season. Iga Swiatek knew anything less than a title win would be insufficient to overturn Sabalenka's lead.
The Belarusian failed to top her group which lessened her chances of keeping top spot beyond eight weeks. She earned an early date with Swiatek in the semifinal. Sabalenka had a straight shootout at the world No. 1 ranking, but her best tennis gave up on her.
Swiatek, imperious from her opening match, sliced apart her big rival and would deliver a masterful display to topple the in-form Jessica Pegula in the final. It was a fitting way to end the season and the tournament, winning the two biggest titles on offer (including the China Open), winning 22 of 23 sets.
"2022 was so amazing that I don't know if it's gonna be possible for me to repeat a season like that. So I just didn't feel at the end like I'm in the shadow anymore because I knew that I'm having another great season. And honestly, I kind of accepted that I'm not going to have a season like that, like in 2022, and I just looked forward."
Swiatek was very right. It wasn't her greatest year, certainly at Grand Slam level, by her own lofty standards. But having managed to shake off the obsession of the No. 1 ranking it only served to aid her development as a player.
The Pole has now become just the third player (after Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova) to win a WTA title at every level this year. Swiatek won titles at 250 (Warsaw), 500 (Doha), 1000 (Beijing), a Grand Slam (Roland Garros) and the WTA Finals.