Iga Swiatek scored a sensational win against Naomi Osaka in the Miami Open final and predicted it would mark "the start of a great rivalry".

A 6-4 6-0 victory for Swiatek means the new WTA number one has won three consecutive WTA 1000 titles, becoming the first player to do so at the beginning of a season.

Saturday's success sealed the 'sunshine double' as the 20-year-old captured the Indian Wells and Miami titles back to back, becoming the youngest player to achieve that feat, and only the fourth in history, after Steffi Graf, who did it twice, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka.

Addressing Osaka, Swiatek said: "I wanted to say I'm pretty glad we could play this match, and I think it's the start of a great rivalry.

"You're really an inspiration and this sport is better with you, so keep going."

Osaka is battling her way back into the sport after documenting her struggles with mental health and depression, and her ranking stood at 77 before this tournament.

She was reduced to tears in Indian Wells after being heckled by a spectator, and the Japanese star, a former WTA number one, referenced that incident in a post-match speech after losing to Swiatek.

Thanking her support team, Osaka said they were "the ones who keep pushing me forward after the things that happened two weeks ago – they're the rock that stays by my side".

Although Swiatek beat her resoundingly in the final, these two appear to be close allies, with a meal they enjoyed together in Australia in January 2020 having sparked a friendship.

"I want to congratulate Iga," said Osaka. "I was just thinking yesterday about when I had that dinner with you in Australia, and watching your journey is really incredible, and I hope you continue having fun. Apparently we're tied 1-1 now."

Osaka, who beat Swiatek in Toronto three years ago in their only past meeting, said her conqueror was "an incredible, amazing person", and assured her own supporters she had been having "a lot of fun".

"I hope I can keep working hard and get more opportunities to be in a situation like this again," Osaka added. "Just to be in the final means a lot to me."

That is both pertinent and refreshing given Osaka's future in tennis has appeared in doubt during the past year.

Swiatek, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength. From her French Open final triumph in October 2020 to this latest win, she has won each of the six finals she has contested. Across the last four, Swiatek has won four 6-0 'bagel' sets.

Doing the Indian Wells and Miami double, after previously taking the Doha title this year, shows Swiatek to be a worthy number one.

"I didn't think that was possible," she told Amazon Prime, assessing her back-to-back wins in America. "I'm trying to see what my limits are, and when I was coming from Indian Wells, I said to my coach, 'Did you ever have a situation like that where a player plays the final at Indian Wells and has to play the next match in three days?'. He said that I shouldn't worry and we can do it."

Swiatek's winning streak stands at 17 matches, her record for the season is 26-3, and she has won 20 consecutive sets. Her new number one status will be confirmed on Monday, when the newly retired Ash Barty is taken off the WTA list, and Swiatek hopes to stay there.

"We're going to see. The end of the season is still a long way," she said. "I hope I'm going to keep doing well with the pressure."

Iga Swiatek sealed the 'sunshine double' with a trouncing of Naomi Osaka as the new world number one added the Miami Open title to her Indian Wells triumph.

Twenty-year-old Swiatek will succeed the retired Ash Barty on top of the WTA rankings on Monday, and she has reached the top spot for the first time in staggering style.

A 6-4 6-0 victory against former number one Osaka in Saturday's final made Swiatek the first player to win the first three WTA 1000 events in a season.

Those are the highest value tournaments on the tour outside the grand slams, and Swiatek has chopped down the fields in Doha, Indian Wells and now Miami in staggering fashion.

Her winning streak stands at 17 matches, her record for the season is 26-3, and she has won 20 consecutive sets.

Swiatek set the tone for the match when she broke for a 3-2 lead in the opening set, whipping an exquisite backhand winner across court to seize the initiative.

She had a look-in next time around too, with Osaka doing well to fend off a break point and keep the Pole within touching distance.

The first set was secured when Osaka hoisted an aggressive forehand service return long, and that ramped up the pressure at the beginning of the second

In a flash, Swiatek earned herself three breakpoints, and although Osaka saved the first with a drive volley, the Japanese player sent a forehand into the net on the next point

Swiatek was displaying some startling shot-making, and a cross-court forehand winner in the third game was a thing of beauty, helping her establish a double break.

Osaka is battling her way back into the sport after documenting her struggles with mental health and depression, and her ranking stood at 77 before this tournament.

By reaching the final she proved her talent remains formidable, but Swiatek at present is on another level to her tour rivals, and a clinical sweep of the second set was complete when Osaka hooked a forehand wide.

Only three players had previously secured this back-to-back double in Miami and Indian Wells: Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996, Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Victoria Azarenka in 2016. Swiatek is the youngest to achieve the feat.

Iga Swiatek progressed to her fourth WTA 1000 semi-final on Wednesday at the Miami Open, defeating Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3.

After taking out tournaments in Doha and Indian Wells this year, the 20-year-old's undefeated streak now moves to 15 in a row.

Kvitova largely stayed in points in the opening exchanges and held a higher first-serve rate than Swiatek, but indicative of the form the Polish star is currently in, she played with clarity and did not hesitate when opportunities presented.

Along with winning six of eight points on Kvitova's second serve in the first set, the soon-to-be world number one converted on her sole chance at break point, claiming the crucial break in the sixth game before closing the opening set out.

After a tough service hold in the fourth game and four initial chances at break point in the second set, Swiatek made it count on her fifth attempt, spectacularly managing to move the 28th seed around the court and turn defence into attack.

Seeing the finish line, the Polish second seed grew increasingly assertive in both serve and shot selection to both secure the break and see out the match, even claiming a second break for a punctuation mark.

Swiatek will face Jessica Pegula, who is also through to the semi-finals after Paula Badosa retired from their matchup due to a viral illness.

Pegula was leading 4-1 after only 18 minutes of play when Badosa retired, having won four straight games after initially dropping her serve.

The 28-year-old has now won her last two matches in Miami via retirement after she advanced past Anhelina Kalinina in the fourth round, winning the first set 6-0.

If Pegula defeats Swiatek in the semi-final, it would make for her maiden WTA 1000 final appearance.

Naomi Osaka will make her first Miami Open semi-final appearance after defeating Danielle Collins 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday.

The Florida native and the 2022 Australian Open finalist were worlds apart on serve, with Osaka putting up 13 aces, while Collins served seven double faults and had a meagre first-serve rate of 37.8 per cent.

While dropping only three games provides ample reflection, Osaka was in almost total control, winning 28 of 38 total points on serve and over half of the points on return with 26 out of 45. Her 25 winners to three unforced errors only reinforced the dominant nature of the win.

The Japanese former world number one has not dropped a set en route to the semi-final, and did not face a single break point against Collins, who called a medical time-out to address a neck issue after the first set.

"I'm glad I was able to get through quickly," Osaka said post-match. "I focused on trying to hit a lot of really good returns.

"This is actually my first night match too, so I didn't know what the conditions were going to be like."

Osaka will face reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who comfortably saw her way past Daria Saville with a 6-1 6-2 win.

The Tokyo gold medallist progressed to her first WTA 1000 semi-final since Madrid in 2019, needing just 69 minutes to defeat the unseeded Australian.

With Saville serving at 51 per cent for the match, Bencic was all over the second look, winning 18 of a total 23 points in those scenarios.

The critical element of the match was the Swiss 22nd seed's ruthlessness on break point, converting seven out of total eight times.

World number two Iga Swiatek showed why she is next in line to occupy the top ranking as she comfortably handled the challenge of 14 seed Cori Gauff 6-3 6-1 to earn a spot in the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Swiatek, 20, will become the first Polish-born man or woman to earn the number one singles ranking when it is next updated on April 4, after Ash Barty's retirement, and she never gave Gauff a chance.

She won all eight of her service games in the match, and broke Gauff's serve four times in eight chances to rattle off five consecutive games to close the match.

After a walkover in her last fixture, Naomi Osaka was strong on her way to a 6-3 6-4 win against Alison Riske.

Both women produced break points throughout the match, but while Osaka saved seven out of eight, coming back to double-break after her slip-up in the second set, Riske could only save nine of 12.

In a clash between top-10 seeds, Danielle Collins was terrific in her 6-2 6-4 win against Ons Jabeur.

The match was decided by each woman's success on their second serve, as Jabeur had the better first serve, but could only win 31 per cent of her second serves (8-26), while Collins was an even 73 per cent on both her first and second attempts.

Daria Saville continued her march back up the rankings with a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win against Lucia Bronzetti, making it nine wins from her past 10 matches for the Australian ranked 249 in the world after recently returning from a long-term achilles injury.

Saville will play Switzerland's Belinda Bencic after she breezed past Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3, while Petra Kvitova got the better of higher-ranked Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

American Jessica Pegula was nearly flawless on her way to a 6-0 first set before Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina retired due to injury, while world number six Paula Badosa beat wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-3.

 

Victoria Azarenka says she regrets beginning her Miami Open match against Linda Fruhvirtova after retiring during the second set of the third-round encounter.

The former world number one blamed an "extremely stressful" time in her personal life for the withdrawal, calling her decision to play a "mistake" and pledging to learn from the incident.

Azarenka was trailing 6-2 3-0 against 16-year-old Czech Fruhvirtova when she abruptly ended the match, having earlier shouted "why am I here?" at her coaching team.

The two-time Australian Open champion also broke down in tears after her third-round defeat to Elena Rybakina at Indian Wells earlier this month, deleting her social media accounts in the aftermath.

Via a statement released after her retirement from the tournament, the Belarusian said she should not have gone onto the court to face Fruhvirtova, blaming an "extremely stressful" time in her personal life for the incident.

"I shouldn't have gone on the court today," the 32-year-old said.

"The last few weeks have been extremely stressful in my personal life. 

"[My] last match took so much out of me, but I wanted to play in front of a great audience as they helped me pull through my first match.

"I wanted to go out there and try but it was a mistake. I always look forward to the challenge and pressure of competition but today it was too much. 

"I have to and will learn from this."

As a Belarusian, Azarenka has had to compete as a neutral player since her country's regime helped enable the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the participation of sportspeople from the two countries being a subject of intense discussion.

Iga Swiatek was in a ruthless mood as she coasted into the last 16 of the Miami Open, setting up an intriguing clash with Coco Gauff.

Swiatek was in action for the first time since ensuring she will be top of the pile after the next WTA rankings update, and she certainly showed world-number-one form against Madison Brengle in a 6-0 6-3 victory.

The 20-year-old Pole needed just 25 minutes to win the opening set, during which she hit 12 winners to Brengle's one.

Brengle gave a better account of herself in the second set but Swiatek still had far too much for her, with the latter remaining on course to become only the fourth woman to win the so-called 'Sunshine Double' of Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

But certain expectations – particularly those relating to her ranking – are not what Swiatek wants to think about at the moment, especially while she is so content out on the court.

She said: "I know the ranking can be pressure, but on the other hand when I was climbing up and I entered top 10 and top five, I felt the same feeling, and right now I don't want to repeat that. So I just focus on my game.

"I don't know what's going to happen after the tournament and the adrenaline will go down and I have more time to stress about that a little bit more, but for now I feel great. It's not like it's bothering me, it's more motivating me. So it's great."

Gauff, competing in her local tournament, awaits after showing admirable spirit to beat Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7-1) 7-5.

The 18-year-old had to save two set points in the opener before rallying back and producing a devastating display in the tiebreaker.

She then came back from 4-2 down in the second, winning five of the final six games to seal a hard-fought victory.

Another teenager hoping to leave a lasting impression is 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, who became the youngest player to reach the fourth round in Miami since Maria Sharapova and Tatiana Golovin in 2004 – both were also 16.

Fruhvirtova was 6-2 3-0 up over Victoria Azarenka before the three-time Miami Open winner retired, giving the youngster her first top-20 scalp.

Jessica Pegula, Petra Kvitova and Paula Badosa were among the others to secure their progression on Sunday.

Naomi Osaka moved into the fourth round at the Miami Open without even taking the court on Saturday, getting a walkover victory as Karolina Muchova withdrew.

The former world number one claimed straights sets victories coming into Saturday and had her run eased even further, with Muchova citing abdominal injury after almost five hours on court in her opening two matches.

Muchova has been sidelined due to the injury for the last seven months, missing the US Open in 2021 as well as the Australian Open this year.

"I'm sad that I cannot put up a battle against Naomi today." Muchova tweeted. "After a long break from tennis, two tough matches in [a] row have been a lot for my body and I need longer to recover."

While Lucia Bronzetti also won in a walkover, Osaka will face Alison Riske, who defeated fellow unseeded American Ann Li 6-2 3-6 6-3.

In her third match since losing to Ash Barty in the Australian Open final, Danielle Collins defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-1 6-4 in 78 minutes.

The American world number 11 has had to deal with numerous niggling injuries this season, including a viral illness that left her with significant neck pain.

"There was obviously an emotional moment for me, the pain I'm dealing with right now with this injury," she said post-match.

"Just trying to work through that, I think is one of the hardest things we go through mentally when we're on court."

Fellow seeds Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur also made their way through to the fourth round, defeating Heather Watson and Kaia Kanepi respectively.

Both won with relative comfort, with Bencic winning 6-4 6-1, and Jabeur only dropping three games in the opening set to triumph 6-3 6-0.

Robert Lewandowski joined skiing greats Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin in saluting Iga Swiatek for earning the number one ranking in women's tennis for the first time.

At the age of 20, Swiatek guaranteed she will top the WTA list after the Miami Open by beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 in her opening match at the event.

Swiatek will replace Ash Barty, whose shock retirement will see the Australian drop off the ranking ladder entirely when it is next published on April 4.

Since a shock French Open victory in October 2020, when the unseeded Swiatek stormed through the draw without dropping a set, the Polish youngster has continued to make a major impact.

She reached at least the fourth round of all the grand slams last year and was a semi-finalist at the 2022 Australian Open, before victory at WTA 1000 events in Doha and Indian Wells propelled her to number two in the rankings.

Now she will climb a step higher, and that news has proven popular with Swiatek's supporters, who include a number of illustrious names.

Fellow Polish sporting star Lewandowski, who is rewriting goalscoring records in Germany with Bayern Munich, sent his compatriot a message on Instagram that read simply: "Congratulations Iga. Well done."

Swiatek is a huge admirer of Americans Vonn and Shiffrin, who have both landed World Championship and Olympic gold medals on the slopes, and the respect is mutual.

Vonn told Swiatek her achievement was "So deserved!!", and Shiffrin posted: "Congrats Iga!!"

Former WTA number one Kim Clijsters, who was also 20 when she first hit the top spot in 2003, felt it was a natural next step for Swiatek to move up a rung and become the 28th top-ranked player in the tour's history. Swiatek will also be the first Pole to sit at the summit.

Clijsters said: "To see Iga grow as a tennis player, it has been so beautiful for me. There's a certain type of focus that is on tennis, and tennis only. There's a drive there that I admire very much – a drive that I recognise."

Belgian Clijsters, quoted on the WTA website, added: "She's had great results in the past, but she still wants to improve. We've seen others that kind of take a step back and say, 'Oh, I've won a slam now, I've made it. There's sponsors coming in and I get treated like a princess wherever I go'.

"Just because you’re the number one player and have won slams, doesn't mean you should treat other people differently. I feel like Ash Barty did that amazingly, and I think Iga has that focus, too."

New world number one Iga Swiatek says taking the top rank is a "dream come true" and something she never strongly believed could happen.

Swiatek made history as the first Polish tennis player to reach the top ranking, taking over the mantle following Ashleigh Barty's shock decision to retire from the sport in midweek. She will officially become number one when the WTA rankings are updated on April 4.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the 2020 French Open and made this year's Australian Open semi-finals, made the ascent to the summit after beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 at the Miami Open on Friday.

"It's a dream come true, for sure," Swiatek told reporters. "It's that kind of thing that I wanted to happen someday, but I didn't really know that it's going to be possible for me.

"I never really imagined that moment, because truth to be told, I was working day by day and I was playing tennis well, but I never had that like that strong belief that it can actually happen, so it's even more surreal for me."

Swiatek has claimed WTA 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Doha this year, with her victory over Golubic extending her winning run to 12 matches.

She is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

"I think it's going to be a bit different and maybe the hype is going to be a bit bigger, but I'm ready for that," she said.

"Honestly, it's like part of the job, so I always knew if I'm going to succeed, it's going to be there. I really appreciate people being really enthusiastic and really pumped up because I think sometimes I'm even playing for them."

Barty was quick to congratulate Swiatek on claiming the number one ranking, saying there is "no better person" than the Pole.

"There is no better person," Barty said in a message. "The way that she's brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.

"I hope she can take it and still be her, do it her own way, and really chase what she's after in her career and her dreams."

Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek has risen to world number one in the wake of Ashleigh Barty's retirement with a 6-2 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic at the WTA Miami Open on Friday, sealing her ascent.

Swiatek, who won recent WTA 1000 events this year at Indian Wells and Doha, cruised to victory in one hour and 14 minutes over the Swiss.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the French Open in 2020 and reached this year's Australian Open semi-finals, will officially become the top-ranked player when the rankings are updated on Monday April 4.

Barty's name will be removed from the rankings at her request having announced her shock retirement earlier this week at the age of 25, despite winning this year's Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon titles.

Swiatek is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. She will become Poland's first-ever number one in tennis history.

The Pole extended her winning streak to 12 matches against Golubic, taking her to a tour-high 21 wins this year, in a match where she saved eight of nine break points and took six of the nine she generated.

Swiatek's main immediate competition for the top rank was fifth seed Paula Badosa who got past Marie Bouzkova 7-5 7-5 in two hours and three minutes.

Badosa, who got the edge by grinding out games under pressure, will face Yulia Putintseva in the third round after she won 6-3 4-6 7-5 over Lesia Tsurenko.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was bundled out of contention following a shock 4-6 6-1 6-2 loss to Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova needed three sets to get past Clara Burel, winning 6-1 3-6 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Jessica Pegula beat Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4, Cori Gauff got past Qiang Wang 7-5 6-4 and 20th seed Elise Mertens went down 7-5 2-6 6-1 to Linda Fruhvirtova.

Naomi Osaka is through to the third round of the Miami Open after beating former world number one Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

Osaka won the first three games of the match to jump out to an early lead, securing the set with a double-break before breaking early in the second to cruise to a 6-2 6-3 win.

The story of the match was Osaka's ease in winning points against Kerber's serve, winning 41 per cent (15/37) of Kerber's successful first serves, while the German could only win 11 per cent (3/27) in the same category.

Britain's top-ranked woman Emma Raducanu suffered another early exit, on the wrong end of Katerina Siniakova's comeback 3-6 6-4 7-5 win.

Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Miami Open after aggravating a thigh injury.

Former world number one Halep was due to face Australia's Daria Saville in the round of 64 on Thursday but felt unable to contest the match.

Halep said she sustained a thigh injury during her Indian Wells semi-final defeat to Iga Swiatek the previous week and it caused her discomfort again while training on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old two-time major winner expects to sit out the Charleston Open and will miss the start of the Billie Jean King Cup.

In a tweet posted on her official Twitter account, Halep wrote: "While I was practising in Miami yesterday I felt a sharp pain in my left leg.

"I had been struggling with the thigh since my semi-final in Indian Wells and hoped it would improve, but I went for an MRI last night and unfortunately it showed a tear.

"My body needs time to heal and as a result I will be out of competition for three weeks. This means I have had to make the super tough decision to pull out of Miami, Charleston and Fed Cup [Billie Jean King Cup].

"While it feels like really disappointing news to share, I am keeping the confidence from my great start to the year and am motivated to do everything to be ready for the clay-court season.

"Thanks for your continued support through the highs and lows."

Lucky loser Harmony Tan will take Halep's place in the draw.

 

Naomi Osaka looked relaxed and composed as she eased to a straight-sets win at the Miami Open, and offered a clue as to why when speaking to reporters afterwards.

The 24-year-old revealed she has started seeing a therapist after her recent loss at Indian Wells, where she suggested a heckler had affected her performance.

Osaka was left in tears as she struggled to deal with someone apparently shouting "Naomi, you suck!" during her second-round defeat to Veronika Kudermetova.

She also withdrew from Roland Garros last year, citing mental health concerns.

However, the three-time grand slam champion produced a strong display in her first round encounter in South Florida to beat Astra Sharma 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells. It only took like a year after French Open," she told reporters after her win.

"She kind of told me strategies and stuff. I realise how helpful it is. I'm glad that I have people around me that told me to, like, go in that direction.

"But, yeah, I was basically just remembering all the things that she told me to do, just to take deep breaths and reset myself when I need to."

The world number 77 revealed it was partly her sister, former professional player Mari Osaka, showing concern that led her to seek out therapy.

"I feel like I've been trying a lot of different things because I tend to internalize things, and I also want to do everything by myself," Osaka clarified, adding that her coach, Wim Fissette, had also encouraged her to do so.

Osaka believes she is now better prepared to handle a similar situation to Indian Wells should it arise, having realised it may have been the first time she has been heckled during a game.

"I think for me, the situation in Indian Wells, I've kind of thought back on it. I realise I've never been heckled. I've been booed, but not like a direct yell-out kind of thing. It kind of took me out of my element.

"I feel like I'm prepared for it now. I was kind of bracing myself before the match to just know that's a thing that could happen now. I think I just needed to change my mindset a little."

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