What Aryna Sabalenka’s Miami defeat means for WTA Rankings as Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff look to cash in

Shahida Jacobs
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka pose
Iga Swiatek of Poland and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus before their match

Aryna Sabalenka’s early exit from the Miami Open means Iga Swiatek is already assured of the top seed status at the French Open while Coco Gauff has a glorious chance to reach a new ranking milestone.

Reigning Australian Open champion Sabalenka followed up her shock fourth-round loss at the Indian Wells Open by crashing out in the third round in Miami as she went down in three sets against Anhelina Kalinina.

The world No 2’s latest defeat though came on the back of an emotionally charged week as her ex-partner and former NHL ice hockey player Konstantin Koltsov, 42, died in the lead-up to the tournament in Miami.

Sabalenka, though, opted to play at the event and won her opening match against Paula Badosa before going down against Kalinina on Saturday.

Her loss has dealt her hopes of catching Swiatek in the rankings in the near future a major blow as the Pole is now assured of having at least a 2,735-point lead once the Miami Open is complete.

LIVE WTA Rankings

1. Iga Swiatek 10,780 points
2. Aryna Sabalenka 8,045
3. Coco Gauff 7,150

WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka smashes racket as her emotional Miami Open journey is ended by Anhelina Kalinina

Should Swiatek – who is chasing a second Sunshine Double – go on to win the tournament then the gap will be a massive 3,670 points, but there are still a lot of obstacles in the road for the reigning world No 1 in Miami.

The four-time Grand Slam winner, though, is now mathematically assured of being ranked No 1 ahead of the French Open, which means she will be the top seed for her title defence thanks to that 2,735-point gap.

Swiatek has 1,335 points to defend on clay ahead of Roland Garros while Sabalenka will drop 1,315 points over the next two months.

Both players are set to play in three events in the lead-up to the clay-court major – the WTA 500 Stuttgart Open, the WTA 1000 Madrid Open and the WTA 1000 Italian Open – so even if Sabalenka wins all three events she won’t be able to catch Swiatek.

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There is also pressure from Gauff in terms of the world No 2 ranking as the American is only 895 points behind Sabalenka and if she wins the title in Miami then she will reach a double rankings milestone.

Not only will Gauff move up to No 2 for the first time in her career with a title run as she will move to 8,085 points compared to Sabalenka’s 8,045, but she will also break the 8,000-point barrier for the first time in her career.

Swiatek faces Linda Noskova – who beat her in the third round of the Australian Open before the Pole got her revenge at the Indian Wells Open – in the third round in Miami while Gauff will face Oceane Dodin for a place in the fourth round.