French Open: Iga Swiatek's No.1 ranking on the line, faces Sabalenka challenge

For the first time since Iga Swiatek took over as the World No.1 on the WTA Tour, the top spot will be on the line when the French Open begins on May 28.

Paris, May 25 (IANS) For the first time since Iga Swiatek took over as the World No.1 on the WTA Tour, the top spot will be on the line when the French Open begins on May 28. Either Swiatek or No.2 Aryna Sabalenka will leave Paris with the No.1 ranking.

Swiatek will be spending her 61st and 62nd consecutive weeks at No.1 during Roland Garros. The 21-year-old from Poland is the defending champion. She captured her second title in Paris last year by defeating Coco Gauff in the final.

After successful title defenses this season at Doha and Stuttgart, as well as runner-up finishes at the WTA 1000 events in Dubai and Madrid, Swiatek comes into Paris with 8,940 points.

Sabalenka has been methodically narrowing the point difference. With three titles under her belt this season, including her inaugural major victory at the Australian Open in January and her first WTA 1000 title of the season at the Mutua Madrid Open earlier this month, she enters Paris with a total of 7,541 points.

Sabalenka has not advanced beyond the third round in Paris to date. In the upcoming two weeks, she only has to defend only 130 points, a carryover from her third-round performance last year. Because of a shift in the calendar, which has moved Roland Garros back by a week, Sabalenka is also tasked with defending an additional 180 points, won from her second-place finish at the ‘s-Hertogenbosch grass-court tournament.

Scenarios:

In order to have a chance of retaining the No.1 ranking, Swiatek will need to reach at least the quarterfinals at the French Open. Should Swiatek lose before the quarterfinals, then Sabalenka will take over as World No.1 on Monday, June 12, after Roland Garros.

If Sabalenka reaches the Round of 16 or quarterfinals, then Swiatek would need to reach the semifinals to have a chance of staying No.1.

If Sabalenka reaches the semifinals, then Swiatek would need to reach the final to have a chance of staying at No.1.

If Sabalenka reaches the final, Swiatek could hold on to No.1 only by winning the title.

Should Sabalenka overtake Swiatek for the No.1 ranking, the 25-year-old would become the 29th World No.1 in WTA history.

–IANS

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