Soon-to-be world No 1 Swiatek crushes Osaka for Miami Open title
Miami, April 3 (IANS): Poland’s 20-year-old tennis star Iga Swiatek bested Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-4, 6-0 in the Miami Open title clash to complete a ‘Sunshine Double’ in the prestigious WTA 1000 tournament on Sunday (IST).
This was Swiatek’s 17th straight match win on the WTA Tour and her third consecutive WTA 1000 title with a straight-sets win over the four-time Grand Slam champion.
On Monday, the Pole star will officially become the world No.1 for the first time in her career. She moves to that position following her commanding 1-hour and 17-minute victory.
“I just feel really satisfied and fulfilled and also proud of myself,” Swiatek was quoted as saying by wtatennis.com. “I feel like I have got to celebrate, because I don’t know how long I can keep up with this streak.”
The former French Open champion also joins an exclusive club by becoming only the fourth woman to win the Sunshine Double — titles at WTA 1000 Indian Wells and Miami in the same season.
Germany’s Steffi Graf (1994 and 1996), Belgium’s Kim Clijsters (2005) and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (2016), all former No.1 players, are the others. Swiatek, 20, is the youngest woman to pull off this feat.
“I feel pretty privileged that I can be amongst those players, because I wouldn’t even dream of it a few years ago,” Swiatek said. “I knew it’s going to be tough playing these two tournaments in a row. I realized at the end it’s just another match and I took it step by step.”
Swiatek’s career-best winning streak continues, with all of her past 17 wins coming at the first three WTA 1000 events of the season. She swept the titles at WTA 1000 Doha, Indian Wells and now Miami, joining American great Serena Williams (2013 – Miami, Madrid, Rome, Toronto) and Caroline Wozniacki (2010 – Montréal, Tokyo, Beijing) as the only players to win three or more consecutive WTA 1000 titles in a single season.
But Swiatek stands alone as the first player to win the first three WTA 1000 tournaments in a season. It was her fourth career WTA 1000 title and the sixth singles title overall.
Swiatek becomes the first player to win 17 consecutive matches on hard courts in a single calendar year since Williams won 20 straight between the Australian Open and Toronto in 2015.
“I learned a lot about myself, that I can keep going, and really I don’t need to feel like 100 percent on points to win matches against great players,” Swiatek said. “I can trust myself a little bit more right now. I really used that streak to have more confidence, and also the ranking.”
“Playing against Naomi in a final was pretty exciting, and I knew that the world is going to watch, because it’s a nice match just to follow,” Swiatek said. “I wanted to give the best tennis I can so people actually can be satisfied. But on the other hand, just seeing that I can play that well against such a player is really satisfying.”