PREVIEW | 2024 Miami Open WTA 1000

A NEW champion will be crowned in Miami over the next two weeks as the last major tournament of the first calendar year quarter kicks off tomorrow. Czech Petra Kvitova is the defending champion at the WTA 1000 event, but is not playing this year due to her pregnancy with her first child.

However last year’s runner-up, Elena Rybakina returns to the tournament and will be hoping to go one better after a memorable tournament 12 months ago as 10th seed. There, Rybakina defeated Anna Kalinskaya, Paula Badosa, Elise Mertens, Martina Trevisan and most importantly local hope Jessica Pegula in the lead-up to the final, where she fell short against Kvitova, 7-6 6-2.


It looms as a really fascinating quarter with top seed and tournament favourite Iga Swiatek joined by fifth seeded American Jessica Pegula. There are dangers all over the quarter though, with Czech Linda Noskova – who beat Swiatek at the Australian Open – set for a potential third round encounter with the Pole. Elsewhere, the in-form Emma Navarro looms large, as does Italian Jasmine Paolini and Canadian US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez. Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova a likely fourth round opponent for Swiatek and underrated player.


Realistically this quarter should belong to third seed Coco Gauff, though her third round match against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk – who took her to three sets at the Australian Open and fresh off a semi-finals appearance at Indian Wells – could be her biggest test. The next highest seed is the out-of-form Ons Jabeur, while a potential second round match between Elina Svitolina and Naomi Osaka is a mouthwatering contest. Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and the improved Sorana Cirstea are other key seeds in the area.


Could eighth seed Maria Sakkari build on her new found form from Indian Wells? She has a tough draw with one of in-form pair Yue Yuan or Anna Blinkova up first, while Dayana Yastremska, Jelena Ostapenko and then Rybakina the next three opponents. An incredibly tough draw. Ostapenko should make it through though if Emma Raducanu reaches her in the third round it could be fun. Rybakina should be too strong for her eighth of the draw.


Power personified in the bottom quarter with second seed Aryna Sabalenka and Qinwen Zheng headlining this section. Along with the pair, Victoria Azarenka a potential third round opponent for Zheng. In a spicy return from her ban, Grand Slam winner Simona Halep has out-of-form Badosa up first before having to face Sabalenka. A second round match between Brit Katie Boulter and Czech young gun Brenda Fruhvirtova is another match to watch.


Quarter Finals:
[1] Iga Swiatek (POL) vs. [20] Emma Navarro (USA)
[3] Coco Gauff (USA) vs. [19] Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
[9] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) vs. [4] Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
[7] Qinwen Zheng (CHN) vs. [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

[1] Iga Swiatek vs. [3] Coco Gauff (USA)
[4] Elena Rybakina vs. [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

[1] Iga Swiatek (POL) vs. [4] Elena Rybakina (KAZ)

Winner: [4] Elena Rybakina (KAZ)

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