WTA Miami Masters Preview: Swiatek, Sabalenka, Rybakina, Gauff Lead Field

by Staff | March 20th, 2023, 3:23 pm
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After two Aryna Sabalenka vs Elena Rybakina finals in the first two big events of the season, can anyone stop a third from happening at the Miami Masters?

Another loaded field is set to kick off tomorrow in Miami with 29 of the Top 30 players (only missing the suspended Simona Halep) in action led by the last three Grand Slam winners: Iga Swiatek, Sabalenka and Rybakina.

Americans will be fronted by the steady Jessica Pegula and the now-19 Coco Gauff who will play in her home event (she lives just a few cities from Miami).


The Top 16 seeds: 1 Iga Swiatek, 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 3 Jessica Pegula, 4 Ons Jabeur, 5 Caroline Garcia, 6 Cori Gauff, 7 Maria Sakkari, 8 Daria Kasatkina, 9 Belinda Bencic, 10 Elena Rybakina, 11 Veronika Kudermetova, 12 Liudmila Samsonova, 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia, 14 Victoria Azarenka, 15 Petra Kvitova and 16 Barbora Krejcikova.

IGA SWIATEK QUARTER
Seeds: 1 Swiatek, 8 Kasatkina, 10 Rybakina, 13 Haddad Maia, 21 Badosa, 24 Ostapenko, 25 Trevisan, 29 Martic
Floaters: Mertens, Siniakova, Parks
Notable openers: Katerina Siniakova-Claire Liu, Elise Mertens-Alycia Parks
Projected 3R matches: 1 Swiatek – 25 Trevisan, 24 Ostapenko – 13 Haddad Maia, 10 Rybakina – 21 Badosa, 29 Martic – 8 Kasatkina
Notes: Swiatek is in a tough section for her title defense with Rybakina who she has twice lost to already this year. The world No. 1 could face Katerina Siniakova a top doubles player but otherwise had a good road to the last eight. Rybakina rolls in off her Indian Wells title and could have to deal with Paula Badosa. All roads lead to Swiatek-Rybakina rematch. Young American Alycia Parks could be a factor.

JESSICA PEGULA QUARTER
Seeds: 3 Pegula, 6 Gauff, 12 Samsonova, 14 Azarenka, 20 Linette, 23 Zheng, 27 Potapova, 30 Collins,
Floaters: Begu, Kostyuk, Putintseva, Giorgi, Davis, Kanepi, L. Fruhvirtova
Notable openers: Camila Giorgi-Kaia Kanepi, Marta Kostyuk-Elisabetta Cocciaretto, Yulia Putintseva-Rebecca Marino
Projected 3R matches: 3 Pegula – 30 Collins, 20 Linette – 14 Azarenka, 12 Samsonova – 23 Zheng, 27 Potapova – 6 Gauff
Notes: The top two Americans line-up as the favorites but 3-time champion Victoria Azarenka, Danielle Collins or the big-hitting Liudmila Samsonova could play spoiler. Pegula could face the tough teen Linda Fruhvirtova and then face Collins just to make the fourth round. Chinese phenom Qinwen Zheng could also surprise.

ONS JABEUR QUARTER
Seeds: 4 Jabeur, 7 Sakkari, 9 Bencic, 15 Kvitova, 18 Alexandrova, 22 Vekic, 26 Zhang, 28 Kalinina,
Floaters: Anisimova, Andreescu, Fernandez, Noskova, Raducanu, Townsend, Andreeva, Kenin
Notable openers: Bianca Andreescu-Emma Raducanu
Projected 3R matches: 7 Sakkari – 28 Kalinina, 18 Alexandrova – 9 Bencic, 15 Kvitova – 22 Vekic, 26 Zhang – 4 Jabeur
Notes: The headliner first round match pits former US Open champions Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu in an opening cracker. Andreescu is also a former Miami finalist. It’s an open section with no clear favorite.

ARYNA SABALENKA QUARTER
Seeds: 5 Garcia, 11 Kudermetova, 16 Krejcikova, 17 Pliskova, 19 Keys, 31 Bouzkova, 32 Zhu
Floaters: Teichmann, Rogers, Stephens, Maria, Niemeier, Cirstea, Vondrousova, Montgomery
Notable openers: Sloane Stephens-Shelby Rogers
Projected 3R matches: 5 Garcia – 32 Zhu, 17 Pliskova – 11 Kudermetova, 16 Krejcikova – 19 Keys, 31 Bouzkova – 2 Sabalenka
Notes: After suffering just her second loss of the season Sunday at Indian Wells, Sabalenka will have to get her serve right to make a deep run. She’ll be tested immediately by either former winner Sloane Stephens or the giant killer Shelby Rogers. Madison Keys or Barbora Krejcikova also figure along with former finalist Karolina Pliskova.

The projected R16 looks like:
No. 1 Swiatek – 13 Haddad Maia
No. 10 Rybakina – 8 Kasatkina
No. 3 Pegula – 14 Azarenka
No. 12 Samsonova – 6 GaufF
No. 7 Sakkari – 9 Bencic
No. 15 Kvitova – 4 Jabeur
No. 5 Garcia – 11 Kudermetova
and 16 Krejcikova – 2 Sabalenka

The quarterfinals: No. 1 Swiatek is projected to meet 8 Kasatkina, No. 3 Pegula – 6 Gauff, No. 7 Sakkari – 4 Jabeur, and 5 seed Garcia – 2 Sabalenka.

Former champions: Azarenka(3), Swiatek, Stephens
Former finalists: Ostapenko, Andreescu, Pliskova

Last year, Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-0.

LAST 10 MIAMI CHAMPIONS/FINALS
2022 Iga Swiatek d Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0
2021 Ashleigh Barty d Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 4-0 RET
2019 Ashleigh Barty d Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1), 6-3
2018 Sloane Stephens d Jelena Ostapenko 7-6(5), 6-1
2017 Johanna Konta d Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3
2016 Victoria Azarenka d Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-2
2015 Serena Williams d Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0
2014 Serena Williams d Na Li 7-5, 6-1
2013 Serena Williams d Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
2012 Agnieszka Radwanska d Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-4


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