How Can Naomi Osaka Topple Ash Barty for the World No.1 Ranking at Miami Open 2021?

Published 03/23/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her quarter final match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Ashleigh Barty has been the World No.1 since 2019. Her explosive 2019, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, made it easier for her to retain the ranking. But Barty will now start to lose her 2019 points and her reign is under threat from a re-surgent Naomi Osaka at Miami Open 2021.

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Barty is defending her title at Miami Open 2021. Thus she will be defending 1000 points from her 2019 triumph. She currently has 9186 points. Osaka has 7835 points, 1351 points behind Barty. But with the prospect of Barty losing 1000 points compared to 65 of Osaka, the Japanese is in pole position to become the new World No.1.

Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Scenario for Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka

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For Barty to secure World No.1 spot, she will have to at least reach the finals. If that happens, then Osaka won’t have a chance to become World No.1. Osaka can take her total to 8770 points so to cross that Barty will just need a Miami Open 2021 final appearance. Even if she loses the final, she will lose only 350 points.

Osaka will need to reach the finals to become the new World No.1 if Barty is ousted in the second round. If Barty is ousted at the semifinal stage then, Osaka will need to win the title to become the World No.1.

Criticism of the WTA ranking ‘freeze’

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A lot has been said about the WTA rankings. Barty had a fantastic 2019 for which she deservedly ended the year as the World No.1. But as the coronavirus pandemic peaked in 2020, Barty only played until February. The Australian was in the fear of the virus so didn’t travel and play in the latter half of 2020. Yet she was the year-end World No.1 for the second year in a row.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 17, 2021, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty looks dejected after losing her quarter final match against Czech Republic’s Karolína Muchova REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Osaka is on a 20 match win streak and won two Grand Slams in the past seven months. Yet the Japanese player is ranked below Barty. If the WTA hadn’t frozen the rankings, then Barty would have been outside the top 10. Nevertheless, players will now start losing points and Barty will have to defend a lot of them.

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Bhavishya Mittal

969 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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