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Streaking Swiatek Sweeps Osaka For Miami Open Title

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – APRIL 02: Iga Swiatek of Poland poses with the Butch Buchholz trophy after defeating Naomi Osaka of Japan during the women’s final of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on April 02, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Striding onto a sun-splashed Hard Rock Stadium, Iga Swiatek carried her Tecnifibre racquet in her left hand and wore a bright smile on her face.

Even before she struck a shot, Swiatek was ready for action.

Playing with relaxed intensity, Swiatek stormed through seven straight games pulverizing Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 to capture her first Miami Open championship, score her 17th consecutive victory and complete the Sunshine Double.

In sunny south Florida, Swiatek solidified her status as new world No. 1—she will officially succeed newly-retired Ash Barty in the top spot on Monday—and a dominant force in the sport.

“I would say before that tournament I thought okay I’m number one, but I didn’t actually know if I deserved it. But right now I think I deserve it more. Winning it is going to give me huge confidence.”

A brilliant performance from the 20-year-old Pole shows Swiatek has staying power.

Swiatek joins Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka as the fourth woman in history to sweep the Sunshine Double winning Indian Wells and Miami in succession. Swiatek is the first woman to win the first three WTA 1000 tournament titles of the season: Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

“I’m super tired, honestly,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview. “Well it was so intense I didn’t really know if I’m going to be able to keep up the streak. It’s good for me I can show mental toughness. My whole life, I know I can do more…

“This season I feel like everything clicked I think I was returning her second serves pretty well and I wanted to pressure her. Honestly even though I played so many matches I could run for every ball so I didn’t really care if the rallies were short or long.”

The 2020 Roland Garros champion has reeled off 20 consecutive sets during this career-best winning streak and outclassed Osaka, who won just eight points in the second set today.

How strong was Swiatek during his run? She won three of 12 sets she played at love this week and permitted just 26 games total in the tournament.

In a battle of the new and former world No. 1 stars, Swiatek shined brightly. The Indian Wells champion did not face a break point, dominated key baseline exchanges and applied her athleticism and court coverage making Osaka work hard to win baseline rallies. Swiatek smacked 21 winners against just 14 errors, while Osaka nearly doubled her unforced error output committing 29 errors.

“It’s surreal, but on the other hand I know I’m in the right place and I have been working for that my whole life,” Swiatek said. “Well, for sure just playing against Naomi in a final was pretty exciting, and I knew that the world is going to watch, because it’s nice match just to follow, you know. I wanted to give the best tennis I can so people actually can be satisfied.

“But on the other hand, just, you know, seeing that I can play that well against such a player is really satisfying.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan played her first final since the 2021 Australian Open. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER

At times, Osaka crept well inside the baseline trying to pounce on Swiatek’s second serve, but the Pole’s skill repelling returns and pouncing on any mid-court shots left the four-time Grand Slam champion conceding she felt “confused” as to how exactly to attack her opponent’s second serve. 

“I thought first set was pretty close, but I think throughout the match I just couldn’t really figure out what to do on her second serve,” Osaka said. “I didn’t really know if I should go forward or go back. I think this is something I probably should have decided before the match. But other than that, I thought it was kind of cool to see her movement up close.

“Yeah, all in all, I mean, it was a sad outcome but it was a fun day.”