WTA Rankings: Iga Swiatek dominance could be challenged at Sunshine Double

Iga Swiatek in action Credit: Alamy
Iga Swiatek in action Credit: Alamy

Iga Swiatek is set to defend a full 2,000 points over the course of the Sunshine Double.

Swiatek holds a massive lead in the WTA Rankings at the moment but could see that cut down to just a few hundred points if certain events transpire at Indian Wells Open and the Miami Open.

As things stand, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka is 4,485 points adrift of the runaway leader.

Provided Swiatek takes her place in the draws of both tournaments, she will earn at least 20 of the 2000 points she defends back even if she loses her first match at both tournaments.

Sabalenka, however, has comparatively few points to defend from last year as she lost early in both events in the so-called ‘Sunshine Double’ and thus there could be an almost 4,000-point swing (3,980 as a maximum).

In order for Sabalenka to close the gap that drastically, she will have to win both Indians Wells Open and the Miami Open and hope to see Swiatek knocked out early.

While the former is not beyond the realm of possibility and might even be highly probable if Sabalenka arrives in the United States dialled in and in the same kind of touch she showed at the Australian Open.

The belief that Sabalenka’s service issues stem from some sort of mental block or weakness has been squarely debunked by the biomechanics expert who helped her work out the issues.

That is relevant because some fear she may fall back into her old ways but those in the know suggest that Sabalenka is a changed player and one who could make a serious push to become World No 1.

Back-to-back WTA 1000 events give the top women a great chance to make a big push towards the top of the ladder.

Jessica Pegula has reached the quarter-finals or better at each of the last five WTA 1000 hard court events and the world No 3 also has a good chance to close on Sabalenka and Swiatek above her.

Her last early exit in a hard court WTA 1000 event was at Indian Wells, which gives her the best chance of gaining ground, while in Miami she will have to reach the last four to hold onto the points she gained in 2022.

Caroline Garcia had a disappointing Sunshine Double last year but was phenomenal in Cincinnati and has no problem performing on American hard courts.

Ons Jabeur has an injury cloud hanging over her but also has little pressure to defend points after an early Indian Wells exit last year which was followed by a run to the last eight in Miami.

Congestion in the top 20 of the WTA Rankings lends even greater significance with a large group of players knocking on the top ten door.

How many points are the WTA’s top 10 defending during the Sunshine Double

1. Iga Swiatek: 2000 (1000 IW + 1000 MIA)
2. Aryna Sabalenka: 20 (10 IW + 10 MIA)
3. Jessica Pegula: 400 (10 IW + 390 MIA)
4. Ons Jabeur: 130 (10 IW + 120 MIA)
5. Caroline Garcia: 45 (35 IW + 10 MIA)
6. Coco Gauff: 185 (65 IW + 120 MIA)
7. Maria Sakkari: 660 (650 IW + 10 MIA)
8. Daria Kasatkina: 75 (65 IW + 10 MIA)
9. Belinda Bencic: 400 (10 IW + 390 MIA)
10. Elena Rybakina: 280 (215 IW + 65 MIA)

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