Iga Swiatek will become the first Polish player to advance to No. 1 after Miami Open win over Viktorija Golubic

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Iga Swiatek started her week deciding she wanted to set her sights on becoming the No. 1 player in the world, not knowing how long that quest would take.

A few days and a surprising abandonment later, mission accomplished.

Women’s tennis has a new name at the top of its rankings, a 20-year-old player who – now that Ashleigh Barty has retired and asked to step down from her No. 1 spot on the world roster – becomes the first player from Poland to hold this distinction. Swiatek’s ascent was concluded Friday night with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the second round of the Miami Open.

When the tournament ends and the standings are updated, Barty will be removed and Swiatek will officially take first place regardless of what happens the rest of the way in Miami.

Swiatek becomes the 28th different woman to hold the No. 1 ranking since the computerized system launched in November 1975. Her rise has been steady and consistent; she finished 2016 ranked No. 903, made the top 500 for the first time in 2018, finished 2020 ranked No. 17, then was No. 9 at the end of last year.

Barty revealed her decision to retire on Wednesday and, as part of it, said she wanted to be removed from the rankings. She held the No. 1 spot for 113 consecutive weeks, tying Chris Evert for the fourth-longest such streak ever. And Barty, the two-time Miami title holder, would have retained the top spot after that tournament was over even if Swiatek had won the title.

But his decision to retire and drop out of the rankings opened the door for Swiatek or Paula Badosa, the No. 5 seed in Miami and the only other person with a mathematical chance of securing the top spot. Badosa won her second round in Miami on Friday, beating Marie Bouzkova 7-5, 7-5 in a match that ended shortly before Swiatek entered the court.

Swiatek and Badosa bucked a wild trend in Miami where the top-seeded players struggled in earnest. There were 32 seeds entering the tournament, and more than half of them left before the third round even started.

Coco Gauff is one of the few exceptions.

The 14th-seeded American, whose home is about a 45-minute drive north of where she is playing this event, beat China’s Wang Qiang 7-5, 6-4 on Friday – in revenge for a first-round loss to her in the Australian Open earlier this year.

“I feel like playing at home, you can either get nervous playing in front of your family, friends, or embrace it,” Gauff said. “And today, I think I adopted him.”

No. 16 Jessica Pegula also felt at home, even though the tournament takes place on the field where the NFL’s Miami Dolphins train and play, and her parents, Terry and Kim Pegula, just happen to own the rival. of the AFC East Buffalo Bills Dolphins. Pegula had little trouble beating 2018 Miami Open winner Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4.

“It’s weird,” Pegula said of playing at the Dolphins’ home.

No. 4 Maria Sakkari of Greece, No. 10 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, No. 20 Elise Mertens of Belgium, No. 24 Sorana Cirstea of ​​Romania and No. 29 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia all lost matches in second round on Friday.

Their losses mean that 16 top-seeded women have now lost their tournament openers. Four other female seeds have withdrawn due to injury or illness, meaning no more than 12 of the original 32 seeds will advance to the third round which begins on Saturday.

Shelby Rogers of the United States used 15 aces – and saved nine of the 10 break points she faced – to beat Ostapenko, 6-3, 7-6 (0). It was Rogers’ second victory over Ostapenko this month, having also beaten her in a second-round match at Indian Wells.

“There are no easy games here,” said Rogers, who has now made the third round in Miami for only the second time; she also did it in 2017.

Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil beat Sakkari 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Madison Brengle of the United States defeated Samsonova 6-4, 6-0. China’s Zhang Shuai needed just 53 minutes to beat Cirstea 6-1, 6-1. Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic beat Mertens 7-5, 2-6, 6-1.

Other female seeds in Friday’s second round include 17th Elena Rybakina, 21st Veronika Kudermetova and 28th Petra Kvitova.

In the men’s second round, two American seeds were ousted. No. 16 Reilly Opelka retired from his match against Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo with a shoulder injury, and Hugo Gaston eliminated No. 20 John Isner 7-6 (5), 6-4. Isner – Miami’s 2018 champion – had 22 aces and was only broken once, but went 0 for 5 on his break chances.

2 seed Alexander Zverev was tested but outscored 166th-placed Borna Coric 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and said it was essential to become more aggressive as the game progressed. match.

“I was like, ‘OK, if I’m going to lose, I’m going to go,'” Zverev said. “It worked.”

Fan favorite Nick Kyrgios got past No.5 Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-0 and No.9 Jannik Sinner dug deep to hold off Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8 ).

No.10 Cameron Norrie improved to 12-2 in his last 14 outings beating fellow Briton Jack Draper in straight sets. Number 17 Pablo Carreno Busta and number 31 Fabio Fognini also prevailed, but number 13 Diego Schwartzman lost in three sets to Thanasi Kokkinakis and number 19 Lorenzo Sonego of Italy lost to Denis Kudla of the United States in three sets.

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