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Iga Swiatek in position to replace Ash Barty as world No 1 after Miami
The Pole will be assured of top spot if she wins her first match in Miami, though Paula Badosa is snapping at her heels
Ash Barty’s retirement from professional tennis means that in due course, there will be a new women’s world No 1.
The Australian topped the rankings for 114 consecutive weeks, the fourth-longest streak in WTA Tour history. She leaves the tour with 7,980 points, more than 2,000 points clear of the No 2, Iga Swiatek.
Badosa has to win Miami to have a chance of No 1
In a press conference on Thursday in Brisbane, Barty confirmed that her name will be immediately removed from the rankings.
“It’s going to be an exciting time for the WTA Tour with a new number one and it’s going to be a really cool period for them now,” she said.
That means that it’s a straight race in Miami between Swiatek and Badosa for the No 1 ranking, with Krekcikova (currently No 3) missing through injury.
As things stand, heading into Miami, the live rankings – with points removed from 2021 – read:
• Swiatek 5721
• Badosa 4765
• Sakkari 4705
With 1,000 points on offer to the winner, Badosa has to win the title to even stand a chance of becoming the next No 1. Sakkari is too far behind to take the No 1 spot in Miami.
Instead, it’s far more likely that Swiatek will be No 1 for the first time. The Pole, who won the title in Indian Wells last time out, will be assured of 65 points if she wins her opening match in Miami, which would be enough to secure her top spot when the rankings are next updated on April 4.
Speaking after winning Indian Wells and reaching a career-high No 2, 2019 French Open champion said she was aiming for No 1.
“It’s pretty surreal for now,” Swiatek told reporters after the win. “I have to look at it and I have to check the rankings by myself and just see it. Right now it’s too surreal to describe it, honestly. But for sure I want to go higher because I feel like getting the No.1 is closer and closer.”
Things could change again by Roland-Garros
It’s entirely possible, though, that if Swiatek heads the rankings after Miami, she could be overhauled by Badosa at some stage in the coming month.
Swiatek won the Rome title last year, amassing 1,000 points, while Badosa performed well in Serbia and Madrid, but earned fewer points. Both women reached the quarter-finals at the French Open.
Sakkari was a semi-finalist at Roland-Garros last summer but improved displays in the build-up events could also thrust her into the battle. And don’t forget Anett Kontaveit, who does not have many points to defend before the second half of the year, and very few at Grand Slams.