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Meet the new No 1! Swiatek notches historic win over Golubic in Miami
Iga Swiatek will rise to the top of the WTA rankings after the Miami Open, becoming the 28th No 1 in WTA history.
After claiming the Indian Wells title last week, Iga Swiatek expressed her desire top achieve a new goal: to chase down Ash Barty and become the WTA’s No 1-ranked player. Five days later, the script having been flipped in the most bizarre manner, Swiatek accomplished her mission in Miami.
With Barty now officially retired, Swiatek set about the task of making her rise official on Friday night in Miami, and came through with flying colors.
On the strength of her 6-2, 6-0 victory over Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic, the 20-year-old Pole will climb to No 1 when the rankings update after the Miami Open on April 4, and become the first player from Poland – male or female – to ever hold the No 1 singles ranking.
Swiatek’s streak hits 12
It has been a remarkable run for Swiatek in 2022. After starting the year at No 9 in the WTA rankings, she has ratcheted up her game, claiming 1000-level titles at Doha and Indian Wells in her last two appearances. Swiatek stretched her career-best winning streak to 12 on Friday with a command performance against Golubic that lasted 74 minutes.
“My main goal was just to be focused on the performance and on tennis and actual things that are going to help me to win,” Swiatek told the press on Friday night in Miami. “But for sure, for last couple of days, I felt a little bit more pressure. Yeah, this has been more stressful than usual, but I’m pretty happy that I handled it really well and I could show my best tennis today. It’s again really proof for myself that I can handle that. I’m really happy about that.”
Another breathtaking performance
There would be no nerves on display on Friday evening as Swiatek handled every challenge that the crafty Swiss threw at her.
The Pole saved the first eight break points she faced and jumped out to a 5-1 lead before surrendering a break in the seventh game. That didn’t faze her – she closed out the opening set with her third service break, taking it 6-2.
Swiatek followed a similar script in the second set, quickly racing out to a double-break lead, and she kept her foot on the gas pedal to finish the victory with zero drama.
“It’s something I’m really proud of, and, you know, it’s a dream come true, for sure,” Swiatek said of her groundbreaking achievement. “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 always believed in myself, but probably that I’m going to be, you know, No. 1, it was crazy for me before. Honestly, I just realized after Indian Wells that it may be possible.”
Barty on Swiatek: There’s no better person to become No 1
Speaking after her retirement announcement from Australia, Barty gave Swiatek the ultimate endorsement, saying: “There is no better person [to rise to No 1]. 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 in her own way, and really chase what she’s after in her career and her dreams.”
Swiatek told reporters that Barty’s words meant a lot to her. She says the Aussie has inspired her in many ways and she was grateful for that.
“I always respect Ashleigh, and she gave me huge motivation to work on my tennis,” Swiatek said. “And hear the words from her, it means a lot. I don’t know how to even describe it. I’m just thankful.”
- Seeds who won on Friday: No 2 Swiatek, No 5 Badosa, No 12 Azarenka, No 14 Gauff, No 16 Pegula, No 17 Rybakina, No 21 Kudermetova, No 28 Kvitova
- Seeds who lost on Friday: No 4 Sakkari, No 10 Ostapenko, No 20 Mertens, No 24 Cirstea, No 26 Keys, No 29 Samsonova