Poland’s Iga Swiatek on Sunday became only the 4th woman to complete the Sunshine Double as the new World No. 1 defeated Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 at the Miami Open final.
20-year-old Swiatek, who will be crowned No. 1 after Ash Barty’s retirement, did not drop a set en route to the Miami Open title. She has now won 17 successive matches, a winning streak that stretches from Qatar Open in February.
Swiatek is the first woman to complete the “Sunshine Double” since Victoria Azarenka in 2016. Kim Clijsters (2005) and Steffi Graf (1994, 1996) are the other women to accomplish the feat.
“These weeks were so intense I didn’t really know if I would be able to keep up with the streak that I have,” said Swiatek, who also became the first woman to win the opening three WTA 1000 tournaments in a season.
“It’s amazing for me that I could show mental toughness because my whole life I thought I could do more and sometimes I was losing and I didn’t even know why.
“This season I feel like everything clicked so it’s great and I am really happy.”
Swiatek and Osaka wasted no time getting into the heat of the battle as the match began with a wild seven-deuce opening game during which four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka saved two break points and fired down four aces to hold serve.
The match remained on serve until Swiatek broke Osaka when she ripped a brilliant crosscourt backhand winner to go ahead 3-2 and then went on to close out the first set without facing a break point despite serving under 40%.
The former French Open champion raised her level in the second where she broke Osaka three times to race out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back as she sealed the 79-minute match on her first championship point when Osaka sent a forehand wide.
HAD A LOT OF FUN
Osaka arrived in Florida following a second-round loss at Indian Wells where she was reduced to tears after being heckled during the match but she proved resilient as she would only drop one set en route to the Miami final.
In the final, Osaka did well to hold serve in a tricky 10-minute game to start the match and while she was not able to do much against a determined Swiatek after that she still held her head high.
“I haven’t been in this position for a little minute,” said the 24-year-old Osaka, who took a break from the sport last year to prioritise her mental health.
“I know this isn’t the outcome that you guys wanted but I am having a lot of fun out here so I hope that I can keep working hard and get more opportunities to be in a situation like this again.”