INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Two years ago, the last time Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari played a tennis match, there were some big implications -- but at the time, no one knew how big.

They met in the BNP Paribas Open final and Swiatek won by a routine 6-4, 6-1 count. The under-the-radar prize: With Swiatek ranked No.4 and Sakkari No.6, the two players jumped up into the No.2 and No.3 spots. That proved critical when World No.1 Ashleigh Barty retired one week later -- and Swiatek, not Sakkari, was elevated to No.1, the 28th player in Hologic WTA Tour history to achieve that milestone.

Raise your hand if you believed the 20-year-old from Poland would still be at the top of women’s tennis two years later. With the exception of Aryna Sabalenka’s eight-week visit to the summit late last summer, Swiatek’s reign has been an enduring one.

Sunday at Indian Wells, history repeated itself. Swiatek was actually one better this time, dispatching Sakkari 6-4, 6-0 in the final. Swiatek won the last eight games and dropped only 21 in six matches. She’s produced 23 6-0 sets in WTA 1000 events -- a phenomenal 11.2 percent success rate.

“I remember everything, honestly,” Swiatek said of that 2022 run. “It was pretty crazy. I’m pretty proud of the way I adapted to all these challenges that I had to face. First becoming World No. 1, then actually feeling comfortable with it and using it on court and being the target of many players that wanted to beat particularly me.”

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The 2022 win in the desert came early in a 37-match win streak that included the title at the Miami Open. Swiatek scored the coveted Sunshine Double, beating Coco Gauff, Petra Kvitova, Jessica Pegula and Naomi Osaka in her last four matches. She’s in position to do it again when main-draw play opens this week.

She’ll play the winner of Camila Giorgi-Magdalena Frech in the second round and, if she advances, Linda Noskova for the third time this year. Noskova , a 19-year-old from the Czech Republic, upset Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open before losing to her at Indian Wells.

Here are some other prominent Miami storylines:

Tuesday's schedule

The Miami Open couldn't have asked for a more spectacular start than this. Feast your eyes on the star-studded matchups scheduled for Day 1 in Miami:

Seven-time major champion Venus Williams plays Diana Shnaider.

Caroline Wozniacki, a quarterfinalist at Indian Wells, meets Clara Burel. 

Simona Halep, returning for the first time since the 2022 US Open, plays Paula Badosa.

Speaking of Halep ... 

The two-time Grand Slam champion is back after winning an appeal over a doping suspension.

She promptly accepted a wild card into the Miami Open and has been practicing on site for nearly a week now.

Halep’s last match came 18 months ago at the 2022 US Open. The Miami draw was not particularly kind. Halep meets Paula Badosa in the first round, with the winner getting No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in the second.

Which begs the question …

 Can Sabalenka pull it together?

She left Australia in January with a second consecutive Australian Open title, a final in Brisbane and a record of 11-1.

Since then, she’s 2-2. Sabalenka lost her only match in the Middle East to Donna Vekic and never gained any real traction in Indian Wells. She struggled to beat Peyton Stearns in a second-round match that featured two tiebreaks and was pushed by Emma Raducanu in the third round. Emma Navarro bested her in the quarterfinals 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

In five previous Miami tournaments, Sabalenka has never been past the quarterfinals. 

How will Rybakina fare?

The 24-year-old from Kazakhstan has won 17 of her 20 matches this year and has a title (Abu Dhabi) and a WTA 1000 final (Doha).

But since then, Rybakina granted a walkover to Jasmine Paolini in the Dubai quarterfinals -- and withdrew before she played a single match in Indian Wells.

A year ago, she lost a memorable Miami final to Petra Kvitova, 7-6 (14), 6-2.

Will Jabeur take steps in the right direction?

She’s been to three major finals in the past two calendar years, but it’s been slow going for the affable Jabeur in 2024.

After losing in the second round of the Australian Open, Jabeur went 1-2 in Abu Dhabi and Doha before pulling out of Dubai with a chronic knee injury. Her first match in Indian Wells ended in defeat, at the hands of wild card Katie Volynets.

Jabeur’s Miami record is 5-4. Last year, she lost her first match to qualifier Varvar Gracheva.

Inside the tour: Swiatek, Sakkari and the best of Indian Wells

Will Sakkari keep it going?

She was 3-3 in her three previous WTA 1000s but won five straight before falling to Swiatek. Clearly, Sakkari got a nice bounce from the addition of coach David Witt to her team. Previously, Witt had coached Pegula for more than four years.

Sakkari’s best effort came in a wild, rain-delayed 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 semifinal over Coco Gauff that required more than five hours to complete. It’s probably the memory she’ll take with her going forward.

“It is what it is right now,” she said of the loss to Swiatek. “I’m now already thinking about Miami, not losing first round again because I don’t have a very good record the last couple of years after going deep here.”