The third WTA 1000 event of the year, immediately after Indian Wells, the world’s best head to the east coast of the USA.
Number one seed
Aryna Sabalenka makes the top seed by the skin of her teeth. She has been world number two for a long time, but lacked a big result since Madrid last year.
Sabalenka is yet to achieve a title this year, and this may be the last major tournament where she is the number one seed.
She is often accused of overthinking, panicking, and playing too aggressively, particularly at the grand slams and biggest tournaments. When she’s on form he’s difficult to beat, but form has been hard to find of late.
Sabalenka’s record this year is 6-6, and the highest ranked opponent she has beaten was Alize Cornet, ranked 37.
Her best result in Miami is a quarterfinal, which she achieved last year. She should be considered a dark horse, expect another surprise defeat in the early rounds.
Victoria Azarenka is a three time winner of this event, first in 2009, then 2011 and 2016, and the only multiple champion in attendance. She is seeded 12th, and is world number 16.
Azarenka’s Australian Open winning days look to be behind her, at 32 years old, but she is still capable of bursts of form, as shown by her final in Indian Wells last year.
This year after a fourth round exit at the Australian Open, she hasn’t been able to string together more than one match win in a row. So Azarenka hasn’t hit her burst of form yet this year.
If she can break the trend of losing the second match, she should finish somewhere around the fourth round, unless she finds some super form.
Indian Wells champion
Iga Swiatek is fresh off of her second WTA 1000 victory, and if she becomes the fourth woman to complete a sunshine double, she will hold all three WTA 1000 titles this year.
Recently achieving a career high of world number two, a victory in Miami would put Swiatek 204 points away from the top spot.
It’s been a great season for Swiatek, she still never lost a WTA 1000 final, and she made the semifinal in the Australian open.
As the most consistent tennis player in the women’s game, Swiatek is a strong favourite to win, but there is immense pressure on her now, and possibly fatigue too.
The Pole’s best result in Miami is a third round, which she achieved last year in her first entry in the main draw, and as we saw in Australia she isn’t immune to an upset.
Expect a strong title challenge, but a victory is far from assured.
2018 champion – Sloane Stephens
-World number 38, inconsistent form.
World number one, Australian Open champion, two time Miami champion, defending champion – Ashleigh Barty (recovery)