WTA battle for No 1 ranking: What Aryna Sabalenka needs to do at US Open to replace Iga Swiatek at No 1

Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek Credit: Alamy
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek Credit: Alamy

The world No 1 ranking will once again be up for grabs at the US Open as Aryna Sabalenka has another opportunity to topple Iga Swiatek.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek has occupied top spot in the WTA Rankings since April 4, 2022 as she took over from the retired Ashleigh Barty.

After a dominant 2022 season where she was untouchable at the top, the Pole has held off several challenges from Sabalenka this year as the Belarusian managed to close the gap on the back of her title run at the Australian Open.

Her most recent big chance came at Wimbledon where an appearance in the final would have seen her replace Swiatek at No 1, but she lost in the semi-final.

The 25-year-old will get another opportunity at the season-ending Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows over the next fortnight.

Asked ahead of the US Open, if the battle for the No 1 spot is playing on her mind, Sabalenka replied: “I don’t need to push it on the side because this is not something I’m really thinking during the tournament, during the matches.

“I know that I had and probably I have opportunities to become world No 1, but there is still a lot of job to be done. I’m, like, focusing on myself more than on the ranking.

“I know that if I’ll bring my best tennis, if I’ll do my best, I know that I’m able to do that. I’m trying to shift my focus more on myself, on my game, on improving myself more.”

Swaitek-Sabalenka’s battle for the No 1 ranking at US Open

Swiatek will start her title defence in New York with 9,955 points – a 1,209-point advantage over Sabalenka – but she will drop 2,000 points in New York while her main rival only has 780 points to defend as she reached the semi-final last year.

As a result, the difference is a mere 11 points (7,966 vs 7,955).

It means Swiatek still has her own fate in her hands as Sabalenka can only replace her at the top if she achieves a better result than the Pole.

Example: If Swiatek loses in the first round then Sabalenka needs to reach the second round, if Swiatek reaches the final, then Sabalenka needs to win the title, etc.

Swiatek will face Rebecca Peterson of Sweden in the first round at Flushing Meadows while Sabalenka takes on Maryna Zanevska.

Should Sabalenka outlast Swiatek at the US Open, then she will become the 29th WTA world No 1.

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The article WTA battle for No 1 ranking: What Aryna Sabalenka needs to do at US Open to replace Iga Swiatek at No 1 appeared first on Tennis365.com.