Iga Swiatek has achieved her mission of being the no. 1 tennis player in the world after her most recent victory in Miami. Now that Ashleigh Barty has retired and asked to vacate her No. 1 spot on the world list, women’s tennis has a new name at the top: a 20-year-old who becomes the first Polish player to do so. Swiatek clinched the no. 1 ranking with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in the second round of the Miami Open on Friday night.
No matter what happens the rest of the way in Miami, Barty will be removed and Swiatek will officially move into the top spot when the tournament ends and the rankings are updated. Swiatek is the 28th woman to hold the top spot since the computerised system was introduced in November 1975. Her rise has been steady and consistent; she was ranked No. 903 at the end of 2016, broke into the top 500 for the first time in 2018, was ranked No. 17 at the end of 2020, and was No. 9 at the end of last year.
On Wednesday, Barty announced her retirement and stated that she wanted to be removed from the rankings. She’s been in first place for 113 weeks in a row, tying Chris Evert for the fourth-longest streak in history. And even if Swiatek had won the tournament, Barty, the two-time defending champion in Miami, would have retained the top spot.
However, her decision to retire and exit the rankings opened the door for Swiatek or Paula Badosa, the No. 5 seed in Miami and the only other player with a mathematical chance of winning the title. Badosa advanced to the second round of the Miami Open on Friday, defeating Marie Bouzkova 7-5, 7-5 in a match that ended just as Swiatek was about to take the court.
Swiatek and Badosa defied the odds in Miami, where seeded women’s players have struggled mightily. There were 32 seeds in the tournament, and more than half of them have already been eliminated before the third round begins.