World No.2 Iga Swiatek and No.6 Paula Badosa will battle for the No.1 ranking at the Miami Open. With No.1 Ashleigh Barty's retirement, the Australian will vacate the Hologic WTA Tour's top spot in the next rankings cycle, which will take place on April 4 after the WTA 1000 event in Miami concludes.
"It's a new start for the tour, which is going to be really exciting for them," Barty told reporters after her retirement announcement. "They've got exceptional players, great depth. It's going to be really exciting for them."
No.1 Ranking Scenarios:
- If Swiatek wins her opening match in Miami, she secures her move to No.1 after the event.
- If Badosa loses her opening match, then Swiatek secures her move to No.1 after Miami.
- If Swiatek loses her opening match, then Badosa would need to win the title in order to climb to No.1.
Swiatek could seal her ascent to World No.1 as early as Friday, when both she and Badosa will play their opening matches in Miami. Seeded No.2, Swiatek will face Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic in her opening round Friday (7 p.m. ET). This will be a rematch of their second-round match in Doha last month. Swiatek won 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 en route to the Doha title. Ranked No.42, Golubic defeated Swiatek in the first round of Wimbledon in 2019.
It's still a little bit surreal to me… @ashbarty thank you for what you've done for our sport, for every time we practiced together and played against each other - it was always a challenge in the best way possible. I hope you'll enjoy every second in this new chapter Champ. 💛 pic.twitter.com/iZ6ZGlaEuz— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) March 24, 2022
Swiatek has swept the first two WTA 1000 events of the season, in Doha and Indian Wells. She is currently riding a career-best 11 match winning streak and is the first player since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009 to win five or more titles before her 21st birthday.
After capturing her fifth career title at Indian Wells last week, Swiatek ascended to a career-high No.2 to sit aside Agnieszka Radwanska as the highest-ranked Polish players in tennis history. Should she defeat Golubic, Swiatek will stand alone as the first World No.1 from Poland.
Miami Media Day: Swiatek, Raducanu reeling after Barty's retirement news
"I know that if it is Iga, there is no better person," Barty said. "She's an incredible person, a great tennis player. The way that she's brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.
"I loved testing myself against her. I loved playing her. I loved practicing with her and spending time with her team. She's a brilliant person, and was one of the first to message me, which is really nice.
"I think she thoroughly deserves it. I hope that 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."
The 24-year-old Badosa is seeded No.5 in Miami. The Spaniard has had a strong start to the season, winning her first title of the year in Sydney and making her first Australian Open Round of 16. The defending champion in Indian Wells last week, Badosa returned to the semifinals before losing in three sets to Maria Sakkari.
Badosa will face the No.86 Marie Bouzkova from the Czech Republic in her opening match. This will be the first encounter between the two in nearly five years. In their only previous meeting, Badosa defeated Bouzkova in straight sets in 2017 Las Vegas.
Badosa enjoyed her breakout season in 2021, where she earned her first win over a World No.1 in Charleston, defeating Barty 6-4, 6-3. Building on that success, Badsoa made her first WTA 1000 semifinal in Madrid and first major quarterfinal at Roland Garros. Her outstanding victory in Indian Wells last fall boosted her into the Top 10 and earned her a debut spot at the WTA Finals, where she made the semifinals.
Badosa is bidding to become the first Spanish woman since Garbiñe Muguruza to sit atop the WTA rankings.