Friday, February 3, 2023

She is no. 1: Swiatek defeats Osaka 6-4, 6-0 to win Miami Open

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. ( Associated Press) – Iga Swiatek has made her journey to the women’s no. Terminate 1 rankings appropriately.

Swiatek continued her sharp start to 2022 on Saturday, beating Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 to win the women’s title at the Miami Open and extend her winning streak to 17 games.

Swiatek, who will officially replace the now retired Ashleigh Barty at number 1 on the women’s rankings when the points are updated on Monday, also completed the so-called Sunshine Double – winning both Indian Wells and Miami. She is the fourth woman to do so, joining Victoria Azarenka (2016), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Steffi Graf (1994 and 1996).

“This tournament has so much energy,” said Swiatek.

Swiatek’s homeland is Poland, where more than 2 million people have entered war-torn Ukraine in recent weeks. Swiatek took a moment during her trophy ceremony to acknowledge that those refugees are in her mind.

“As I did in my previous speeches at Doha and Indian Wells, I want to tell Ukraine to stay strong,” Swiatek said. “Everything is going to get better.”

Swiatek broke Osaka in the first set for a 3-2 lead, hanging from there to win a 52-minute game that had the opening game – at Osaka’s discount – seven twos and played for 10 minutes.

The second set was a completely different story. Break, hold, break, hold, break, hold and that was it, because Swiatek ended her ninth consecutive victory in straight sets. It was her third title of 2022 and her sixth consecutive victory in a final, a series that started at the delayed French Open in 2020.

Swiatek, who never faced a single break point, earned $ 1,231,245 for the win. Osaka earned $ 646,110 for the final.

Osaka finished 77th in the world in the tournament, but certainly did not play as if there were currently 76 better women on tour – beating selected players Angelique Kerber, Danielle Collins and Belinda Bencic on their way to the final. .

Osaka was as high as number 13 earlier this year, saw her rankings get a big hit when she was eliminated early from the Australian Open, and is likely to rise to number 36 when the figures are officially updated on Monday.

Miami was her first final since winning the Australian Open in 2021.

“It makes me feel so good, makes me feel so good, to see you happy on the court again,” James Blake, director of the tournament, told Osaka during the trophy ceremony.

When the cheers of fans grew louder after Blake said it, Osaka finally broke out in a broad smile.

Osaka has spoken openly about her struggles with depression and has been working on her mental health since winning the 2018 US Open over Serena Williams. She withdrew from last year’s French Open, left last year’s US Open in tears and was brought back to tears by the comments of a spectator at Indian Wells last month.

But in Miami, it was all luck.

“I want to dedicate this one to all the people who support me, my fans,” Osaka said as she held the crystal runner-up trophy. “I know I was not in this position for a moment. I know this is not the outcome you wanted, but I’m having fun up here.”

Swiatek also had friendly words for Osaka after the match: “This sport is better with you,” the soon-to-be women no.1 told the former women no.1.

Swiatek would still be number 2 on the rankings if Barty did not retire or ask to be removed from the list. But the gap between 1 and 2 in that scenario would have been much closer – Barty led by Swiatek with 2,204 points when the Miami Open started and would have seen that margin cut to 269 points on Monday.

The men’s final in Miami is Sunday when the no. 6-selected Casper Ruud against no. 14 Carlos Alcaraz.


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