Miami Open women’s final line-up poetically exemplifies post-Barty WTA
The Miami Open women’s final will be contested by the two women to be world number one either side of outgoing WTA leader Ash Barty.
Naomi Osaka, who was number one before Barty, downed Belinda Bencic to reach her first Miami final, while Swiatek defeated Jessica Pegula for an incredible 16th consecutive match win to keep her hopes of winning the ‘Sunshine Double’ alive.
The final line-up is perhaps even more pertinent in Florida as Barty is the two-time defending Miami Open champion, having won there in 2019 and 2021.
Osaka first reached number one in January 2019 after her first Australian Open title, with Barty overtaking her in June of that year.
Osaka topped the ladder for four more weeks in August and September before Barty staked her claim again from September 2019, not surrendering the top spot again until her retirement this March.
Swiatek will top the WTA rankings when they update on Monday, and she will lead her next closest challenger, Barbora Krejcikova, by at least 1328 rankings points and as many as 1678.
In the first post-Barty tournament, WTA gets her predecessor at #1 against her successor at #1 in the final.
Pretty darn heckin’ nifty stuff.#MiamiOpen
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) April 1, 2022
Osaka is vying for her third WTA 1000 title and her first since winning the 2019 China Open, a trophy she claimed by defeating none other than Barty in the final.
Meanwhile, Swiatek is fighting for her fourth WTA 1000 title and third in 2022 alone, having won both 1000 level events so far this year in Doha and Indian Wells.
Should she win, she would become just the fourth woman after Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ of winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back.
Osaka and Swiatek have faced off just once before, back in 2019, in the last 16 of the Canadian Open, when Swiatek was an 18-year-old qualifier.
Osaka won 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to progress to the quarter-finals where she lost to eventual finalist Serena Williams.
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