Tennis: WTA Miami Women’s Semi-Finals Preview

Belinda Bencic [22] v Naomi Osaka

It still feels strange to frame Naomi Osaka as a world no. 77 and an unseeded finalist, when we all know exactly what the four-time Grand Slam champion is capable of when she is on her game – and she has been very much so in Miami, bouncing back from reduced to tears by a heckler in Indian Wells. 

This is the best run of results so far this season for Belinda Bencic, who was once hailed as prestigious a talent as Martina Hingis, but the success never seemed to transpire. 

Osaka comes off worst in their head-to-head, trailing 1-4. Her only win against Bencic came in their first encounter at the ITF tour level, and since then the traffic has been decidedly one way in favour of the Swiss. Those tour encounters were all in 2019 so there has been a lot of water under the bridge – two more Slam titles for Osaka, and an Olympic gold for Bencic.

Osaka is the favourite but Bencic’s resurgence is not something to be sniffed at – and with both treading new ground in Miami, having never been this far in the tournament, this could be a tense three setter all the way.

Jessica Pegula [16] v Iga Swiatek [2] 

Jessica Pegula comes into this semi-final pretty fresh, having had two retirements in her last two games and only having spent 44 minutes on the court, and while the World No. 1 beckons next week for Iga Swiatek, she has look no less impressive as she has breezed into the semi-finals without dropping a set.

Pegula brings on court some very powerful tennis, and she will have her work cut out against Swiatek, who is unbeaten in WTA 1000s this season and is currently on a 15-match winning streak. The American has been producing consistently good results in the last couple of years and is well-deserving of her rise up the rankings as American women’s tennis is enjoying a decent stretch of late. 

Not surprisingly Swiatek is the overwhelming favourite to be in with a shot of winning the Sunshine Double. Her mental strength has been a huge factor and her variety has continued to develop and while Pegula leads their