Naomi Osaka has admitted the hype around the opportunity to take over Ash Barty and become the WTA World No.1 got to her during the Miami Open.
World No.2 Osaka suffered a stunning meltdown during the quarter-final of the Miami Open, which all but ended the star's chance of endings Barty's hold at the top.
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Maria Sakkari produced a masterful display to defeat the Australian Open champion Osaka 6-0, 6-4 in just 69 minutes.
Following the match, Osaka revealed she wasn't thinking about becoming World No.1 heading into the tournament.
But as the hype began to build about Osaka's opportunity to take the ranking, she admitted the pressure played a role mentally.
"It's hard to say, but I do think like the last time I was in this seat I wasn't really thinking at all about rankings, but someone asked me that question, so then I did start to ponder about it a lot," Osaka said.
"So maybe unwillingly that put pressure on myself. But I feel like even if it did, I should be able to rise above that."
Barty creates rankings history
Barty reached the World No.1 ranking, not long after her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open, on the 24th June, 2019, and has maintained her run at the top of the women's game since.
As a result of Osaka's Miami Open loss, Barty is guaranteed at least another five weeks as World No.1.
This will see Barty reach 74 weeks at the top, which helps her surpass Caroline Wozniaki (71).
She will sit behind, Stefani Graf (377 weeks), Martina Navratilova (332), Serena Williams (319), Chris Evert (260), Martina Hingis (209), Monica Seles (178), Justine Henin (170), Lindsay Davenport (98).
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