Photograph: Getty Images
Iga Swiatek has been crowned the 2022 Miami Open Champion following a dominant 6-4, 6-0 win over 4-time Grand Slam champion and close-friend Naomi Osaka.
After a second-round loss in Dubai to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko, the Pole has now strung together 17 successive victories and three consecutive titles.
Swiatek was destined to sit atop the rankings after Ash Barty’s shock retirement but her latest triumph, over another former world No. 1 in Osaka, was a fitting final act before her ascension.
“I just feel really satisfied and fulfilled and also proud of myself,” Swiatek said post-match.
“I feel like I have got to celebrate, because I don’t know how long I can keep up with this streak.”
Moments that mattered
Swiatek applied pressure to the serve of Osaka from the opening game of the match with the Japanese player saving two break points across seven deuces before holding.
The next three service games went to script for both players before Swiatek generated a backhand winner that saw the Pole break for a 3-2 lead in the first set.
That advantage would prove decisive for Swiatek who conceded just five points on serve for the remainder of a set that she would ultimately claim 6-4 in 53 minutes.
Momentum remained with the 20-year-old early in the second with a break of Osaka to 15 in the first game of the set before consolidating to the same scoreline.
The return position of Osaka deep inside the baseline would prove futile for the two-time WTA 1000 champion as she struggled to make a dent in the service games of her opponent.
Truth be told, the Osaka racquet failed to apply any real pressure at all in the second. The soon-to-be world No. 36 won just eight points for the entirety of a set that lasted just 27 minutes.
With Swiatek’s astonishing run this last month in mind, it was an appropriate finish to the match and tournament - the Pole stringing together the last seven games in a row to run out a dominant winner without facing a single breakpoint.
Swiatek’s now 17-match win streak spans longer than her success in the United States but those triumphs alone grant her entry into an exclusive club.
The 20-year-old’s victory on Sunday means she becomes the youngest ever woman to secure back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami.
This feat, known as the ‘Sunshine Double’, has only been previously completed by Stefanie Graf (1994 & 1996), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Victoria Azarenka (2016).
"I feel pretty privileged that I can be amongst those players, because I wouldn't even dream of it a few years ago," Swiatek said.
"I knew it's going to be tough playing these two tournaments in a row. I realised at the end it's just another match and I took it step by step."
Swiatek’s run stacks up with some of the best that the women’s game has seen in recent times and who knows, perhaps the end of this one isn’t in sight just yet.