Swiatek vs. Osaka – 4 key stats you need to know ahead of their Miami final showdown
Tennis Majors, along with our partner Opta, gets you ready for the Iga Swiatek vs Naomi Osaka final showdown in Miami
While the Big 3 rivalry took the interest of fans in the men’s game to new heights, women’s tennis has been craving for an exciting rivalry in recent years. With Serena Williams dominating her rivals for a long time followed by the COVID-interrupted 114-week reign of Ash Barty, the WTA has been devoid of a healthy rivalry that pits two exciting and popular players.
On Saturday, Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka will face off in the Miami Open final– a clash between the new world No 1 and the former world No 1trying to find her groove back on the court – and fans will be hoping this develops into a rivalry in the coming years
Let’s take a look at some of the key stats before Saturday’s women’s singles final at the Miami Open.
1. Osaka leads Swiatek in their head-to-head 1-0
The two have faced off just once before – at the 2019 Canadian Open in Toronto – which was when Osaka was world No 2 and Swiatek was still on her way up the ranks and came through the qualifying event.
Osaka came away with a 7-6, 6-4 win but both players walked away being impressed by the other.
Speaking on Thursday after her quarter-final win, Osaka said, “I remember playing Iga in Toronto when she was first coming up, and my immediate thought was, Wow, this girl is really athletic. She’s sliding all around the place. I think it’s really amazing to see how far she’s come. She’s just so motivated. I know when I won Indian Wells I was just like really dead, and then they made me play Serena in the first round. I was like, Whoa, dude. It’s just incredible to see she’s still in this tournament and still fighting, and she’s going to be No. 1 soon or already. It’s really cool.”
Swiatek also spoke about her memories about that Toronto encounter after her quarter-final win over Jessica Pegula.
“I remember we had really nice backhand crosscourt rallies. We kept each other really on the edge there. None of us missed basically. I think it was like we were really solid on that side. I think she also mentioned that she was pretty surprised by that. Yeah, and I felt like I have nothing to lose. That was really freeing, you know. It was a pretty good experience for me.”
“I also remember that in important moments it kind of struck me that the best players are basically using their serve to stay in the match when they have like break down or something or they have breakpoints. Right now I’m that kind of player who can do that. So, you know, coming back to that match, it’s just showing how much progress I have done so I’m really proud of that.”
2. Swiatek has won 16 matches in a row
Swiatek is on a 16-match winning streak – all of those coming at the WTA 1000 level. The Pole won the Qatar Open in Doha and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells prior to Miami. Osaka will be hoping to put an end to that streak.
Incidentally, the last player who had embarked on a longer streak (excluding walkovers) was Osaka herself, who won 23 matches between the 2020 US Open and the 2021 Miami Open.
3. Osaka’s serve on fire in Miami
Naomi Osaka’s serve has always been a weapon but much more this fortnight in Miami. The 24year-old has hit 46 aces at the Hard Rock Stadium which is the highest tally for any player on the WTA Tour in a single tournament in 2022. Perhaps, those serving tips from Nick Kyrios is helping her already.
4. Swiatek aiming to become youngest to win Sunshine Double
Swiatek is just one win away from completing the ‘Sunshine Double’ – winning Indian Wells and Miami in the same year. If she does win on Saturday, she joins Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka as the only women to have accomplished the feat. But at the age of 20, Swiatek will be the youngest of the lot to win the ‘Sunshine Double’ – an impressive feat by any standards.