Iga Swiatek claimed her third title of the season as she beat Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-0 in the final of the Miami Open on Saturday.
Osaka is finding her way back into the sport after extended breaks as she struggled with how much she wanted to take part given the extra obligations, and is yet to win a tournament this season.
Early shadows on half of court threatened to disrupt the fluidity of the match, and both players struggled to kill each other off in the opening few games.
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Osaka needed 10 minutes and four aces to battle through the first game on her serve.
A superb backhand kept Osaka in the third game as she regained a one-game advantage.
Swiatek more than held her own and was able to break to go 3-2 up to take the lead in the first set, with the prospective world No. 1 breaking Osaka when he was able to grind her down.
When Ashleigh Barty’s retirement is confirmed in the rankings, Swiatek will be elevated as the world’s finest player in the women’s discipline.
Osaka, a former No. 1 herself, had to fight to avoid going 5-2 down on her next service game as she faced another break point, but briefly showed the same resilience from her comeback win over Belinda Bencic at the same time, though it was not enough to rescue the first set.
After the slow start of the opening set, Swiatek was in no mood to struggle through the second and rattled off another break against Osaka before sprinting through her own service. Before the match she had said that despite the gruelling schedule so far - she now has 17 straight wins to her name meaning she has had little time off between Indian Wells and victory and Doha - but her fitness was impressive as she only became more dominant.
When Swiatek went 3-0 up it was clear why - she had just 12 unforced errors compared to her opponent’s 25.
Osaka quickly found herself 5-0 down and thrown well off course, as she faced defeat against a clearly better player on the day, and the champion had little trouble securing a second-set bagel for victory.
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