With Miami Open 2021 Triumph, Ash Barty Maintains Stronghold Over Naomi Osaka for World No.1 Spot

Published 04/04/2021, 11:00 AM EDT
Mar 27, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Ashleigh Barty of Australia waves to the crowd after her match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) in the third round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


World No.1 Ash Barty successfully defended her Miami Open crown after Bianca Andreescu withdrew in the final. Barty thus strengthened her claim for the World No.1 spot after World No.2 Naomi Osaka had the chance to topple her at Miami Open 2021. But now the difference between the two players remains mammoth as tennis moves into the clay season.

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With WTA going back to the old ranking system, Barty had to defend a mammoth 1000 points against 65 points for Osaka. Thus Osaka was in a prime position to take over as the World No.1 spot. But now after two weeks, Barty has shown why she is World No.1.

Ashleigh Barty of Australia holds the Miami Open 2021 title. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before the start of the Miami Open 2021, Barty had 9186 points, and Osaka had 7835 points, which means the gap was 1351 points. When the rankings get updated on Monday, the gap will have reduced to 1201 points. Osaka has earned only 150 points from Miami, thus the gap in ranking points is still significant.

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The clay-court season is soon to begin. The WTA will now move to Volvo Car Open in Charleston, USA. The month of April and May hold significant clay-court tournaments.

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand at Miami Open 2021. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What is in store for Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka in the clay court season?

In the 13 tournaments scheduled in April and May, Osaka has lesser points to defend than Barty. Osaka just has to defend 185 points from WTA Stuttgart, 190 points from the Italian Open, and 130 points from French Open.

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But given Barty’s 1201 point, she could easily earn points and increase the gap. Before the start of the French Open, Osaka would want to reduce the gap below the 800 point mark.

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It also looks like Barty is a better clay-court player than Osaka. The Japanese ace struggled heavily in 2019 when she was the top-ranked player. Let’s see if she has made an improvement in 2021 and bettered her clay-court skills.

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Bhavishya Mittal

951 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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