WTA Finals picks: Pegula over Gauff, Swiatek over Sabalenka

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

Jessica Pegula over Coco Gauff
The two good friends, Coco Gauff against Jessica Pegula, will face off in the semis on Saturday in Cancun, Mexico.

Gauff took her down in June, on grass in Eastbourne, and then on the hard courts in August, Pegula beat her in Montreal.

Clearly, they know each other very well, as they play with each other in the doubles. Whoever will win the match, one of them will push her way back, and rally her.

Gauff edged Marketa Vondrousova 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3, mostly because she finally controlled her forehand, as well as her first serve. The 19-year-old is much more concentrated, and her return is now deeper.

However, the 29-year-old Pegula has also added with some hard shots, from the baseline, and while she knows that she wants to set it up, she does will attach more earlier. On somedays, she can go back under the top 50, a couple years ago, but now, the No. 5 is more powerful.

After she beat the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka a few days ago, she said: “We all, as tennis players, have experienced that to some extent — on both sides. So I try to use my match experience as best I can,” Pegula said. “Every match, you’re always going to feel different. But I think the more you put yourself in those situations, the better you feel when they come up again. It doesn’t feel like you have to panic as much.”

The American has won three matches this week, so she is playing extremely well, and while Gauff  has had a better year, in the singles, but she must be a little bit tired. There, Pegula will win the match, 6-3, 7-7, 6-4.

Iga Swiatek over Aryna Sabalenka
Right now, Iga Swiatek is on the blaze, winning all three matches, pretty easily. Her forehand and her backhand are endless, whether she can go crosscourt, or down the line. Her first serve can be ruthless, with some fine aces.

However, Swiatek will face Aryna Sabalenka, and on Monday, one of them will end the year at No. 1 ranking. If Sabalenka beats the Pole person, she will stay at No. 1, or the four-time Grand Slam champ Swiatek will take No. 1, again. That should be a dramatic contest.

This year, they played each other twice, on clay, and they split it. In 2022, they played five times, which was a lot, with Swiatek beating her at the US Open, and  Sabalenka took her  down at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth.  

They are both monstrous hitters, and they can go for broke. After they won, they were pretty happy, but they are not thrilled with heavy wind in Cancun. However, at least it is more warm, which is good.  

Swiatek appears to snag back to No. 1 again, and she really will mix it up. This time, she will hop to return, as she will win it 6-4, 6-4.