Miami Open 2022: Women's singles draw analysis, preview & prediction

Iga Swiatek (L) and Simona Halep
Iga Swiatek (L) and Simona Halep
Vedant Chandel

After a fortnight of exhilarating tennis action in the California desert, the WTA tour moves to the Miami Open for its second stop in the Sunshine Double.

Leading the field this year is top seed Aryna Sabalenka. Former winners Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Grand Slam champions Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova also feature.

Swiatek arrives at the Miami Open after winning back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Qatar and Indian Wells. As the new World No. 2, Swiatek will be looking to consolidate her position while making progress towards the top spot.

Main draw in Miami, where Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek are the top seeds. Naomi Osaka opens against Astra Sharma. Winner face Angelique Kerber. Shelby Rogers and Anisimova face off in 1R. #MiamiOpen

With main draw action set to begin Tuesday, here's a look at the prospects of the top names in the fray.

1st quarter: Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, Emma Raduanu and Karolina Pliskova look for form in Miami Open

Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed.
Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed.

Top seeds: [1] Aryna Sabalenka, [6] Karolina Pliskova, [11] Emma Raducanu, [15] Elina Svitolina

Projected semifinal: Aryna Sabalenka vs Karolina Pliskova

Dark horse: Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka could face Irina-Camelia Begu in her opening match. The 23-year-old has struggled for form all season and will be keen to get a deep run under her belt at the Miami Open.

If Sabalenka were to come through Begu, she could run into 25th seed Daria Kasatkina, who might need to find a way past the dangerous Aliaksandra Sasnovich first. The flat-hitting Sasnovich has played great tennis in the lead-up to the tournament and could cause a few upsets.

Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina will also look to rediscover their lost form, but will need to be wary of Marta Kostyuk and Arantxa Rus respectively.

Emma Raducanu could run into childhood idol Simona Halep.
Emma Raducanu could run into childhood idol Simona Halep.

The third round of the Miami Open could see 2021 US Open champion and 11th seed Emma Raducanu take on childhood idol Simona Halep.

The former World No. 1 will be a heavy favorite to come through that encounter. Halep, who reached the semifinals at the recently-concluded BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, could be the one to look out for from her section.

Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova, meanwhile, might have to find a way past either the big-hitting Camila Giorgi or Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.

Prediction: Simona Halep def. Aryna Sabalenka

2nd quarter: Anett Kontaveit-Ons Jabeur and Leylah Fernandez-Angelique Kerber headed for rematch

J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021 - Day Seven
J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021 - Day Seven

Top seeds: [3] Anett Kontaveit, [8] Ons Jabeur, [9] Danielle Collins, [13] Angelique Kerber

Projected semifinal: Anett Kontaveit vs Ons Jabeur

Dark horse: Kaia Kanepi

The second quarter of the draw could witness another chapter in two budding rivalries. Third seed Anett Kontaveit is projected to meet Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals for the third time this year, but for that, she will have to manouvre through a tricky section.

Kontaveit could face some resistance from Alize Cornet in the third round, but her first real test could come in the last 16.

The winner of a possible third-round encounter between Leylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber awaits the third seed. The two southpaws played at the US Open last year, with the youngster edging Kerber in a nail-biter.

Kerber, for one, will have to find her best tennis right off the bat as she is likely to play fellow former World No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the second round.

Leylah Fernandez could take on Angelique Kerber in the third round
Leylah Fernandez could take on Angelique Kerber in the third round

Jabeur has a relatively simpler path up to the third round, but will need to be wary of Australian Open quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi. If the Estonian can find a way past Maryna Zanevska and Sara Sorribes Tormo, she will fancy her chances of another big run here.

Another Australian Open success story, Danielle Collins, returns to action in Miami. The American will open against either Carolina Garcia or Anna Bondar.

Prediction: Anett Kontaveit def. Ons Jabeur

3rd quarter: Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari on collision course, former champs Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens also in the mix

BNP Paribas Open - Day 14
BNP Paribas Open - Day 14

Top seeds: [4] Maria Sakkari, [5] Paula Badosa, [12] Victoria Azarenka, [16] Jessica Pegula

Projected semifinal: Maria Sakkari vs Paula Badosa

Dark horse: Marketa Vondrousova

Fifth seed Paula Badosa opens her Miami Open campaign against either Laura Siegemund or a qualifier. The first seeded player in the Spaniard's path could be Marketa Vondrousova, who will be looking to build on her solid results this season.

The winner here could take on three-time champion Victoria Azarenka, provided that she can come through her section that features the likes of Elise Mertens and an in-form Jasmine Paolini.

Maria Sakkari reached the semifinals of the Miami Open last year.
Maria Sakkari reached the semifinals of the Miami Open last year.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari, meanwhile, will take on the winner of the first-round encounter between Beatriz Haddad Maia and Nuria Parrizas Diaz at the Miami Open this week.

Madison Keys is a projected third-round opponent for the Greek, but the American might face a stern test in the form of Sofia Kenin in the second round.

A possible rematch of the Indian Wells quarterfinal against Elena Rybakina awaits Sakkari in the fourth round. The Kazakh, however, will first need to come through her section which features Jessica Pegula and Sloane Stephens.

Prediction: Maria Sakkari def. Victoria Azarenka

4th quarter: Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko look to end Iga Swiatek's winning run

Iga Swiatek has won consecutive WTA 1000 titles.
Iga Swiatek has won consecutive WTA 1000 titles.

Top seeds: [2] Iga Swiatek, [7] Garbine Muguruza, [10] Jelena Ostapenko, [14] Coco Gauff

Projected semifinal: Iga Swiatek vs Garbine Muguruza

Dark horse: Amanda Anisimova

Seventh seed Garbine Muguruza comes into the tournament desperate for form. The draw has afforded some breathing room to the Spaniard, who will play against a qualifier in her first match before possibly facing off against familiar foe Petra Kvitova.

The Czech, much like the seventh seed, has had a slow start to the season. That said, Kvitova hasn't lost to Muguruza since their first meeting back in 2015. A win here could give the Czech player the confidence needed to come through her section of the draw.

Jelena Ostapenko, the other big name in the section, will open against either Shelby Rogers, who beat her at Indian Wells, or a resurgent Amanda Anisimova.

Petra Kvitova is a two-time quarterfinalist.
Petra Kvitova is a two-time quarterfinalist.

The big-hitting Liudmila Samsonova, Iga Swiatek's projected third-round opponent, will be looking to stop the second seed's winning run in the Miami Open.

Swiatek has played a lot of tennis in the last few weeks and match fatigue is bound to factor in. If Swiatek were to make it to the second week of the Miami Open, she could face talented youngster Coco Gauff.

The American is yet to win a match at the Miami Open, but she has an easy opening match that she can use to fine-tune her game. She could face a stern test in the form of either Sorana Cirstea or Clara Tauson in the third round, but should be the favorite to come through. Swiatek will likely be the toughest challenge for Gauff to get through.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova def. Coco Gauff

Prediction for semifinals

Anett Kontaveit def. Simona Halep

Maria Sakari def. Petra Kvitova

Prediciton for the final

Anett Kontaveit def. Maria Sakkari

Edited by Keshav Gopalan


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