Iga Swiatek sealed the 'sunshine double' with a trouncing of Naomi Osaka as the new world number one added the Miami Open title to her Indian Wells triumph.

Twenty-year-old Swiatek will succeed the retired Ash Barty on top of the WTA rankings on Monday, and she has reached the top spot for the first time in staggering style.

A 6-4 6-0 victory against former number one Osaka in Saturday's final made Swiatek the first player to win the first three WTA 1000 events in a season.

Those are the highest value tournaments on the tour outside the grand slams, and Swiatek has chopped down the fields in Doha, Indian Wells and now Miami in staggering fashion.

Her winning streak stands at 17 matches, her record for the season is 26-3, and she has won 20 consecutive sets.

Swiatek set the tone for the match when she broke for a 3-2 lead in the opening set, whipping an exquisite backhand winner across court to seize the initiative.

She had a look-in next time around too, with Osaka doing well to fend off a break point and keep the Pole within touching distance.

The first set was secured when Osaka hoisted an aggressive forehand service return long, and that ramped up the pressure at the beginning of the second

In a flash, Swiatek earned herself three breakpoints, and although Osaka saved the first with a drive volley, the Japanese player sent a forehand into the net on the next point

Swiatek was displaying some startling shot-making, and a cross-court forehand winner in the third game was a thing of beauty, helping her establish a double break.

Osaka is battling her way back into the sport after documenting her struggles with mental health and depression, and her ranking stood at 77 before this tournament.

By reaching the final she proved her talent remains formidable, but Swiatek at present is on another level to her tour rivals, and a clinical sweep of the second set was complete when Osaka hooked a forehand wide.

Only three players had previously secured this back-to-back double in Miami and Indian Wells: Steffi Graf in 1994 and 1996, Kim Clijsters in 2005 and Victoria Azarenka in 2016. Swiatek is the youngest to achieve the feat.

Naomi Osaka is through to her first tournament final since her 2021 Australian Open win, getting past Belinda Bencic 6-4 3-6 6-4 at the Miami Open on Thursday.

The reigning Olympic champion looked strong early, breaking twice to go up 4-1 as she took advantage of Osaka's second serve, winning nine of the 11 second serves she saw in the opening set.

As Osaka's success on second serve cleaned up in the second set, Bencic's avenue to victory vanished, unable to save either of the two break points she faced in the second set.

Osaka's first serve percentage shot up to 70 in the deciding set, winning 87 per cent of points on first serve (20-23) to shut the door. Despite Bencic breaking back once after going down a double-break, she was unable to stop her Japanese opponent from serving it out.

Speaking on court after her win, the Florida native was emotional, shedding some tears as she thanked the fans in attendance.

"I just wanted to say thank you everyone, the atmosphere was really good," she said.

"Damn, I'm always crying. I just wanted to say thank you, this tournament really means a lot to me and it's my first time in the finals here."

World number-one-in-waiting Iga Swiatek twice came back from a break down in the second set to overcome the challenge of American Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5.

The straight sets win for the 20-year-old Polish star means she has now not dropped a set in eight straight matches dating back to the fourth round at the Indian Wells Open where she beat Angelique Kerber two sets to one. 

Against Pegula, Swiatek was simply too strong in the opening set, breaking twice in four tries when Pegula's second serve was vulnerable, with the American only winning 27 per cent of her second serve points (4-15) in the opening frame.

The second set was far more competitive, but Swiatek remained just slightly better both on serve and in the return game in a set where four consecutive games resulted in breaks in a seesawing contest.

Pegula refused to let the top seed serve it out comfortably, saving two match points to extend the second set at 5-5. It was just delaying the inevitable as Swiatek broke back instantly and held her nerve, and serve, to avoid a tie-break.

 

Elina Svitolina is taking a much-needed break from tennis due to physical and mental stress brought on by injuries and Russia's invasion of her native Ukraine. 

The world number 20 revealed she had been struggling with a back injury that affected her preparations for tournaments, falling at the first hurdle in each of her past two events.

Svitolina, the 2018 WTA Finals champion, reached the last eight at the Monterrey Open, where she refused to play Anastasia Potapova unless the Russian was classed as a neutral athlete at the start of the month, but she lost in her first match at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

Svitolina's sabbatical means she will be absent from Ukraine's Fed Cup clash with the United States next month, and it remains to be seen if she will return in time for the French Open at the end of May.

The 27-year-old posted on Twitter: "It's been an extremely difficult couple of months for me not only mentally, but physically. 

"For quite a long time, I've been struggling with my back; the pain didn't let me prepare for the tournaments at my best.

"Meanwhile, observing with unbearable pain in my heart what is happening in my homeland of Ukraine and with how much bravery and courage our Ukrainian people are defending our country, this gave me a huge push to continue and fight on court.

"Now, my body can't handle it anymore and I need to rest, therefore I'm sad to announce that I will be missing the Fed Cup and a few of my favourite tournaments in Europe. But, I'm sure I will see you around soon, thank you for all your support in this challenging period."

Will Smith has apologised to Serena and Venus Williams and their family, as well as Chris Rock, after his on-stage slap aimed at the comedian marred an Academy Award win.

The Williams sisters were at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday to see Smith win Best Actor for his portrayal of their father Richard in the biopic King Richard.

However, before Smith took to the stage to collect his award, he was involved in the major flashpoint of the night and one of the most remarkable incidents in Academy Awards history.

Smith stormed the stage when Rock, while presenting Best Documentary Feature, made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock appeared to make a comment on Pinkett Smith's hair, which prompted Smith – after originally smiling at the joke – to take to the stage and strike the comedian before telling him to "keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth".

Smith returned to his seat and was allowed to remain in attendance for the rest of the ceremony, giving a lengthy and emotional acceptance speech in which he apologised to The Academy.

Almost 24 hours past before Smith took to his Instagram page to address the issue again, explaining he took offence to a remark apparently related to his wife's alopecia but also again apologising – including to the Williams family.

"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive," he wrote. "My behaviour at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.

"Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

"I would like to publicly apologise to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.  

"I would also like to apologise to The Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world.

"I would like to apologise to the Williams family and my King Richard family. I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us.

"I am a work in progress."

In her own post on Sunday, Serena Williams had seemingly sought only to address Smith's success at the Oscars.

"This night has been surreal," she wrote. "To spend it sitting next to my sisters meant more than anything.

"I am so grateful to The Academy for making this an unforgettable night, and to Will Smith for bringing this story to the big screen and honouring my family. This will always be a night to remember."

World number two Iga Swiatek showed why she is next in line to occupy the top ranking as she comfortably handled the challenge of 14 seed Cori Gauff 6-3 6-1 to earn a spot in the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Swiatek, 20, will become the first Polish-born man or woman to earn the number one singles ranking when it is next updated on April 4, after Ash Barty's retirement, and she never gave Gauff a chance.

She won all eight of her service games in the match, and broke Gauff's serve four times in eight chances to rattle off five consecutive games to close the match.

After a walkover in her last fixture, Naomi Osaka was strong on her way to a 6-3 6-4 win against Alison Riske.

Both women produced break points throughout the match, but while Osaka saved seven out of eight, coming back to double-break after her slip-up in the second set, Riske could only save nine of 12.

In a clash between top-10 seeds, Danielle Collins was terrific in her 6-2 6-4 win against Ons Jabeur.

The match was decided by each woman's success on their second serve, as Jabeur had the better first serve, but could only win 31 per cent of her second serves (8-26), while Collins was an even 73 per cent on both her first and second attempts.

Daria Saville continued her march back up the rankings with a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win against Lucia Bronzetti, making it nine wins from her past 10 matches for the Australian ranked 249 in the world after recently returning from a long-term achilles injury.

Saville will play Switzerland's Belinda Bencic after she breezed past Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3, while Petra Kvitova got the better of higher-ranked Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

American Jessica Pegula was nearly flawless on her way to a 6-0 first set before Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina retired due to injury, while world number six Paula Badosa beat wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-3.

 

Iga Swiatek was in a ruthless mood as she coasted into the last 16 of the Miami Open, setting up an intriguing clash with Coco Gauff.

Swiatek was in action for the first time since ensuring she will be top of the pile after the next WTA rankings update, and she certainly showed world-number-one form against Madison Brengle in a 6-0 6-3 victory.

The 20-year-old Pole needed just 25 minutes to win the opening set, during which she hit 12 winners to Brengle's one.

Brengle gave a better account of herself in the second set but Swiatek still had far too much for her, with the latter remaining on course to become only the fourth woman to win the so-called 'Sunshine Double' of Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

But certain expectations – particularly those relating to her ranking – are not what Swiatek wants to think about at the moment, especially while she is so content out on the court.

She said: "I know the ranking can be pressure, but on the other hand when I was climbing up and I entered top 10 and top five, I felt the same feeling, and right now I don't want to repeat that. So I just focus on my game.

"I don't know what's going to happen after the tournament and the adrenaline will go down and I have more time to stress about that a little bit more, but for now I feel great. It's not like it's bothering me, it's more motivating me. So it's great."

Gauff, competing in her local tournament, awaits after showing admirable spirit to beat Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7-1) 7-5.

The 18-year-old had to save two set points in the opener before rallying back and producing a devastating display in the tiebreaker.

She then came back from 4-2 down in the second, winning five of the final six games to seal a hard-fought victory.

Another teenager hoping to leave a lasting impression is 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, who became the youngest player to reach the fourth round in Miami since Maria Sharapova and Tatiana Golovin in 2004 – both were also 16.

Fruhvirtova was 6-2 3-0 up over Victoria Azarenka before the three-time Miami Open winner retired, giving the youngster her first top-20 scalp.

Jessica Pegula, Petra Kvitova and Paula Badosa were among the others to secure their progression on Sunday.

Nick Kyrgios has defended Emma Raducanu amid a wave of recent criticism following the US Open champion's early exit from the Miami Open.

Raducanu was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in her first match in Miami this week after being given a bye into the second round.

She has won only four WTA Tour matches since sensationally becoming the first qualifier – male or female – to win a major in the Open Era at Flushing Meadows in September.

The 19-year-old has been in demand off the court, having last week announced she will be a brand ambassador for Porsche, but her business activities have attracted criticism.
 
Speaking after Raducanu's defeat to Siniakova, former world number five Daniela Hantuchova claimed the Briton has lost the locker room respect she had previously built up.

Kim Clijsters took aim at those who act as though they have "made it", meanwhile, though the four-time major winner did not mention Raducanu by name when making those comments.

Raducanu defended herself from the "unfair" accusations and Kyrgios has now questioned why former players have felt the need to take aim at the youngster.

"What’s with old retired players giving their opinion on our stars now?" he posted on Twitter, referencing a video uploaded by Andy Roddick on how players can curtail their anger.

"I love A-rod and I agree we all need to chill with the rackets and all that, but geezus.

"I read an article about a past female player talking about Radacanu, no offence, but she is a far, far bigger name already."

Robert Lewandowski joined skiing greats Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin in saluting Iga Swiatek for earning the number one ranking in women's tennis for the first time.

At the age of 20, Swiatek guaranteed she will top the WTA list after the Miami Open by beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 in her opening match at the event.

Swiatek will replace Ash Barty, whose shock retirement will see the Australian drop off the ranking ladder entirely when it is next published on April 4.

Since a shock French Open victory in October 2020, when the unseeded Swiatek stormed through the draw without dropping a set, the Polish youngster has continued to make a major impact.

She reached at least the fourth round of all the grand slams last year and was a semi-finalist at the 2022 Australian Open, before victory at WTA 1000 events in Doha and Indian Wells propelled her to number two in the rankings.

Now she will climb a step higher, and that news has proven popular with Swiatek's supporters, who include a number of illustrious names.

Fellow Polish sporting star Lewandowski, who is rewriting goalscoring records in Germany with Bayern Munich, sent his compatriot a message on Instagram that read simply: "Congratulations Iga. Well done."

Swiatek is a huge admirer of Americans Vonn and Shiffrin, who have both landed World Championship and Olympic gold medals on the slopes, and the respect is mutual.

Vonn told Swiatek her achievement was "So deserved!!", and Shiffrin posted: "Congrats Iga!!"

Former WTA number one Kim Clijsters, who was also 20 when she first hit the top spot in 2003, felt it was a natural next step for Swiatek to move up a rung and become the 28th top-ranked player in the tour's history. Swiatek will also be the first Pole to sit at the summit.

Clijsters said: "To see Iga grow as a tennis player, it has been so beautiful for me. There's a certain type of focus that is on tennis, and tennis only. There's a drive there that I admire very much – a drive that I recognise."

Belgian Clijsters, quoted on the WTA website, added: "She's had great results in the past, but she still wants to improve. We've seen others that kind of take a step back and say, 'Oh, I've won a slam now, I've made it. There's sponsors coming in and I get treated like a princess wherever I go'.

"Just because you’re the number one player and have won slams, doesn't mean you should treat other people differently. I feel like Ash Barty did that amazingly, and I think Iga has that focus, too."

Emma Raducanu has hit back "unfair" criticism over her mounting sponsorship deals following her early exit from the Miami Open.

The US Open champion was beaten by Katerina Siniakova in her first match in Miami this week after being given a bye into the second round.

Raducanu has only won four WTA Tour matches since she was sensationally crowned champion at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier in New York last September.

The 19-year-old has been in demand off the court and last week revealed she will be a brand ambassador for Porsche.

Briton Raducanu insists she is still driving high standards in training as she strives to build on her maiden grand slam triumph.

"Maybe you just see, on the news or on social media, me signing this or that deal and I feel like it’s quite misleading because I’m doing five, six hours a day [in training], I’m at the club for 12 hours a day," the 19-year-old told reporters.

"But I throw out one post in the car on the way to practice and all of a sudden it’s 'I don't focus on tennis'. I think that it is unfair, but it's something I have learned to deal with and become a bit more insensitive to the outside noise.

"At the end of the day, I feel like my days [with sponsors] are pretty limited. I'm not doing crazy days. I'm doing three, four days every quarter, so it's really not that much."

New world number one Iga Swiatek says taking the top rank is a "dream come true" and something she never strongly believed could happen.

Swiatek made history as the first Polish tennis player to reach the top ranking, taking over the mantle following Ashleigh Barty's shock decision to retire from the sport in midweek. She will officially become number one when the WTA rankings are updated on April 4.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the 2020 French Open and made this year's Australian Open semi-finals, made the ascent to the summit after beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 at the Miami Open on Friday.

"It's a dream come true, for sure," Swiatek told reporters. "It's that kind of thing that I wanted to happen someday, but I didn't really know that it's going to be possible for me.

"I never really imagined that moment, because truth to be told, I was working day by day and I was playing tennis well, but I never had that like that strong belief that it can actually happen, so it's even more surreal for me."

Swiatek has claimed WTA 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Doha this year, with her victory over Golubic extending her winning run to 12 matches.

She is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

"I think it's going to be a bit different and maybe the hype is going to be a bit bigger, but I'm ready for that," she said.

"Honestly, it's like part of the job, so I always knew if I'm going to succeed, it's going to be there. I really appreciate people being really enthusiastic and really pumped up because I think sometimes I'm even playing for them."

Barty was quick to congratulate Swiatek on claiming the number one ranking, saying there is "no better person" than the Pole.

"There is no better person," Barty said in a message. "The way that she's brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.

"I hope 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."

Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek has risen to world number one in the wake of Ashleigh Barty's retirement with a 6-2 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic at the WTA Miami Open on Friday, sealing her ascent.

Swiatek, who won recent WTA 1000 events this year at Indian Wells and Doha, cruised to victory in one hour and 14 minutes over the Swiss.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the French Open in 2020 and reached this year's Australian Open semi-finals, will officially become the top-ranked player when the rankings are updated on Monday April 4.

Barty's name will be removed from the rankings at her request having announced her shock retirement earlier this week at the age of 25, despite winning this year's Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon titles.

Swiatek is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. She will become Poland's first-ever number one in tennis history.

The Pole extended her winning streak to 12 matches against Golubic, taking her to a tour-high 21 wins this year, in a match where she saved eight of nine break points and took six of the nine she generated.

Swiatek's main immediate competition for the top rank was fifth seed Paula Badosa who got past Marie Bouzkova 7-5 7-5 in two hours and three minutes.

Badosa, who got the edge by grinding out games under pressure, will face Yulia Putintseva in the third round after she won 6-3 4-6 7-5 over Lesia Tsurenko.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was bundled out of contention following a shock 4-6 6-1 6-2 loss to Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova needed three sets to get past Clara Burel, winning 6-1 3-6 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Jessica Pegula beat Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4, Cori Gauff got past Qiang Wang 7-5 6-4 and 20th seed Elise Mertens went down 7-5 2-6 6-1 to Linda Fruhvirtova.

Naomi Osaka is through to the third round of the Miami Open after beating former world number one Angelique Kerber in straight sets.

Osaka won the first three games of the match to jump out to an early lead, securing the set with a double-break before breaking early in the second to cruise to a 6-2 6-3 win.

The story of the match was Osaka's ease in winning points against Kerber's serve, winning 41 per cent (15/37) of Kerber's successful first serves, while the German could only win 11 per cent (3/27) in the same category.

Britain's top-ranked woman Emma Raducanu suffered another early exit, on the wrong end of Katerina Siniakova's comeback 3-6 6-4 7-5 win.

Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Miami Open after aggravating a thigh injury.

Former world number one Halep was due to face Australia's Daria Saville in the round of 64 on Thursday but felt unable to contest the match.

Halep said she sustained a thigh injury during her Indian Wells semi-final defeat to Iga Swiatek the previous week and it caused her discomfort again while training on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old two-time major winner expects to sit out the Charleston Open and will miss the start of the Billie Jean King Cup.

In a tweet posted on her official Twitter account, Halep wrote: "While I was practising in Miami yesterday I felt a sharp pain in my left leg.

"I had been struggling with the thigh since my semi-final in Indian Wells and hoped it would improve, but I went for an MRI last night and unfortunately it showed a tear.

"My body needs time to heal and as a result I will be out of competition for three weeks. This means I have had to make the super tough decision to pull out of Miami, Charleston and Fed Cup [Billie Jean King Cup].

"While it feels like really disappointing news to share, I am keeping the confidence from my great start to the year and am motivated to do everything to be ready for the clay-court season.

"Thanks for your continued support through the highs and lows."

Lucky loser Harmony Tan will take Halep's place in the draw.

 

Ash Barty has not ruled out a return to professional tennis, saying "never say never" when asked if she could make a comeback in years to come.

The three-time grand slam winner announced her surprise retirement from the sport on Wednesday, less than two months after her home victory at the Australian Open.

At just 25, Barty is stepping away from the court at the peak of her career, and has teased the idea she could step into another sport entirely.

But speaking on Thursday, the reigning Wimbledon champion did not discount the possibility of returning to tennis down the line.

"You never say never," she said. "But it's a long way off at this stage."

Barty previously played cricket during a sabbatical between 2014 and 2016, and has been linked with a switch to golf in recent years too.

She shut down such suggestions as an immediate option, adding: "[I've] got to try and learn how to hit the middle of the club face before I can think of trying to get on the tour."

Elsewhere, Barty admitted that she would miss the competition of the WTA circuit, while praising fellow Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal for his staying power in the sport.

"I love the competition," she said. "That's what has driven me the most in my career, is that one-on-one competition and the thrill of the fight. I know that I'll miss it 100 per cent.

"But I'll be able to get the adrenaline in different ways. Those ways will remain to be seen. But I know that I've been so fortunate to have so many incredible moments on the court."

Unlike Nadal, Barty is bowing out of tennis early, and she respects the way the 35-year-old Spaniard, who also triumphed at Melbourne Park this year, has been able to stay at the top for the best part of two decades.

She said: "It's been an incredible career. His longevity in the sport has been undeniable. He's been amazing for the sport of tennis. For me as a fan to see him do that over such an extended period has been a pleasure."

Ash Barty insisted she would "never stop loving" tennis as the three-time grand slam winner kept everyone guessing about her next steps in life.

The 25-year-old announced a shock retirement on Wednesday, less than two months after triumphing at the Australian Open.

Barty hinted she would look to find a new role in sport, possibly in a playing capacity, and said she and boyfriend Garry Kissick had set a wedding date, but left it at that.

Speaking at a news conference in Brisbane, Barty said she had intended to reveal her retirement after playing for Australia in a Billie Jean Cup qualifying match in April.

However, reigning champions Russian Tennis Federation were recently excluded, due to the war in Ukraine, which meant the event was restructured and Australia did not need to play a qualifying tie. Barty consequently brought her announcement forward.

She said she had "given absolutely everything I could to this sport", and confirmed she has asked the WTA to remove her name from the world rankings the next time they are published.

Barty has retired as the world number one, with Iga Swiatek in pole position to succeed her. Results at the Miami Open, getting under way this week, will determine who tops the list when it is released on April 4.

"It's going to be an exciting time for the WTA Tour with the new number one," she said. "It will be a really cool period for them now."

Australian Barty, who is also the reigning Wimbledon champion, said of her career: "It's been a hell of a journey. I wouldn't change a thing and I certainly have no regrets."

She said winning the Australian Open in January had been "a brilliant way to finish", adding: "I'm excited for what's next, for my next chapter as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete."

Appearing alongside coach Craig Tyzzer, Barty said she had been practising on court even in the last fortnight.

"I hit as recently as 10 days ago," she said. "I'll forever be connected to tennis. I'll never stop loving the sport, I'll never stop hitting tennis balls. I just won't be doing it selfishly to progress my career, it'll be for different reasons."

Barty has played cricket at a high level before and is a keen golfer.

So could she look for a career in a sport other than tennis?

"I've seen some brilliant Photoshops as a jockey, lawn bowls," she said. "I love sport. I'm a sport nut, like a lot of Australians are; I'll be glued to it.

"I've always been an athlete in a sense of trying different things. But we will see how we go."

She is eager to share her tennis knowledge with youngsters in a coaching capacity, and appears to be relishing a quiet life away from the hustle of being a globe-trotting sports star.

Asked about her plans to marry Kissick, a trainee club golf professional, Barty said plans were in place, adding: "You have to wait and see."

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