Poland’s Iga Swiatek succeeds Ash Barty as world number one

Poland’s Iga Swiatek has taken over as world number one following a 6-2 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the second round of the Miami Open.

The 20-year-old – who is the first Polish player to hold the distinction – was only elevated to world number two after winning the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells last week.

Following Friday’s win, she became the youngest player to make her number one debut since Caroline Wozniacki, who was 216 days younger, in 2010. Swiatek is also currently the WTA’s most in-form player and is on a career-best 12-match winning streak and has a tour-high 21 wins this year, with WTA 1000 titles in Doha and Indian Wells.

Iga Swiatek, of Poland, reacts after defeating Viktorija Golubic, of Switzerland, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Swiatek clinched the WTA world’s No. 1 ranking. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Following her ascension to the top spot, which comes just days after Ash Barty’s shock retirement, Swiatek called her new ranking “surreal”.

“I’m pretty sure that tomorrow the sun will shine exactly the same way as today but for now…it feels surreal. No.1!!” Swiatek wrote on Twitter following her win from her.

Her number one ranking will be recorded officially once the tournament is over and Barty is removed – per the Australian’s request. The 25-year-old, who revealed her shock retirement on Wednesday, asked to be removed from the ranking which she has held since November 2019.

“The thing is, I never really imagined that moment because, truth to be told, I was working day-by-day and playing tennis well,” she said later in a press conference. “But I never had the strong belief that it can actually happen. So, it’s even more surreal for me.

“I loved every moment of it. It doesn’t matter for me if there were fireworks. The crowd was really supportive, they were really excited. I’m just soaking everything in because I didn’t have any expectations.”

The Pole is the 28th woman to hold the number one ranking since the computerized system was introduced in November 1975.

Earlier on Friday, Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova secured her place in the third round of the Miami Open after beating world number 24 Elise Mertens.

The 16-year-old wildcard, who is ranked 279, only won her first match against a top 100 ranked player in the first round, before her 7-5 2-6 6-1 win over Mertens.

The teenager hailed this tournament as “unbelievable”, following her surprise victory.

“Well, I mean, it’s definitely one of my best tournaments so far. I think the best one. I never played against a top-25 player, and, yeah, it’s unbelievable,” Fruhvirtova said.

“I still can’t believe it. But I’m so happy I got the win here. I worked really hard for this, and I’m enjoying it.”

Another highly ranked player also crashed out – Greece’s Maria Sakkari lost in three sets to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Fourth seeded Sakkari won the first set, only for the Brazilian to fight back, winning the next two to take her place in the third round.

Coco Gauff came through in straight sets against Qiang Wang.

Coco Gauff celebrates a point against Wang Qiang of China, during the Miami Open tennis tournament on Friday (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Gauff said after the match: “Obviously I was super motivated today to get the win. I just kind of approached it just playing free.

“I feel like playing at a home crowd you either can get nervous playing in front of your family, friends, or embrace it, and today I think I embraced it.”

Petra Kvitova also won in straight sets against Clara Burel.

Madison Brengle beat the seeded Liudmila Samsonova 6-4 6-0, and Jessica Pegula only needed two sets to secure victory against Sloane Stephens.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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