Naomi Osaka gains ground on Ash Barty despite Miami Open title

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, pictured here at the Miami Open.
Naomi Osaka has closed the gap on Ash Barty in the world rankings. Image: Getty

Naomi Osaka has managed to gain some ground on Ash Barty in the world rankings despite the Aussie star defending her Miami Open title.

In spite of the World No.1's victory, nearest challenger Osaka closed the gap to Barty by 150 points after making the quarter-finals in Miami.

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However the Japanese player still remains more than 1000 points behind Barty.

Barty shrugged off criticism of her continued presence at No.1 on Saturday, saying: "I thoroughly deserve my spot at the top of the rankings".

The Australian star has benefited from a tweak into the way the rankings are calculated, which takes into account the disruption caused by last year's pandemic shutdown.

Barty skipped last year's rescheduled US and French Opens to remain at home, but was able to stay in top spot.

"I never have to prove anything to anyone," Barty told reporters.

"I know there has been a lot of talk about the ranking, but I didn't play at all last year and I didn't improve any of my points whatsoever.

"Yes, I didn't drop but I didn't improve any. I didn't play any at all.

"There were girls who had the chance to improve theirs, so I felt like I thoroughly deserve my spot at the top of the rankings.

"The year we had in 2019 was incredible."

Ash Barty, pictured here consoling Bianca Andreescu after the Miami Open final.
Ash Barty consoles Bianca Andreescu after the Miami Open final. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Bianca Andreescu has climbed three places to sixth in the WTA rankings following her run to the Miami final where she lost to Barty.

Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian who was forced to retire in the second set after turning her ankle, is approaching her best ranking since winning the 2019 US Open when she reached fourth.

The best progression of the week came from Maria Sakkari, who reached the semi-finals in Florida after knocking out Osaka. 

The 25-year-old Greek star moves up six places to 19th, her highest ranking yet.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who made it to the last eight in Miami, climbed one step to seventh place with Serena Williams dropping down to eighth.

Karolina Pliskova is down three places to ninth.

WTA rankings as of April 6:

1. Ash Barty (AUS) - 9186 pts

2. Naomi Osaka (JPN) - 7985

3. Simona Halep (ROM) - 6965

4. Sofia Kenin (USA) - 5915

5. Elina Svitolina (UKR) - 5750

6. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) - 5265

7. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) - 5085 

8. Serena Williams (USA) - 4850

9. KarolĂ­na Pliskova (CZE) - 4660

10. Kiki Bertens (NED) - 4490

with agencies

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