Iga Swiatek holds the Miami trophy and the world number one trophy.

Photo : @MiamiOpen

The Miami Open may have served as a taste of what tennis fans can expect for the next few years on the tour.

Two of the sport’s most touted youngsters took the next step towards superstardom with their victories at the 1000-level event, one of whom reached the pinnacle of the sport with her win at just 20 years old.

Expect a lot more weeks like this one in the future.

But for the Canadians, they are eager to put Miami behind them and move onto the clay.

Here’s what you need to know.

In Case You Missed It: Świątek, Alcaraz crowned in Miami

It’s been no secret for quite a while now that Iga Świątek and Carlos Alcaraz are the two most promising players on the tours. But after their victories at the Miami Open, you can remove the word “promising” from the list of adjectives to describe them.

For Świątek, Miami was a coronation, with the title the icing on the cake of an event that had guaranteed she would ascend to number one in the world after just one match.

But the Pole was not satisfied with guaranteeing the top spot, as she showed why she is deserving of the top spot. Not only did she not drop a set during the event, she only lost more than four games in just two of her six matches and won three sets 6-0, including one in her 6-4, 6-0 defeat of Naomi Osaka in the final.

Świątek, who officially takes over the top spot on Monday, becomes the first woman since Victoria Azarenka in 2016 to complete the Sunshine Double, winning both Indian Wells and Miami. She also joins Novak Djokovic in 2015 as the only two tennis players to win the first three 1000-level (or equivalent) events of the season since the level was introduced in 1990.

Her winning streak is up to 17 consecutive matches and 20 consecutive sets, having not lost one since the opening set of her fourth-round match in Indian Wells.

Meanwhile, ever since he showed up to the Australian Open in a tank top having clearly spent the winter hitting the gym, the tennis world has been buzzing about Alcaraz and finally in Miami he broke through, powering to the biggest title of his career so far.

The Spaniard hardly blew the competition away, coming through some tough matches including an upset of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, a third-set tiebreak in the quarter-finals against Miomir Kecmanovic, and a tight semi with defending champion Hubert Hurkacz. But in the final, he was able to put away Casper Ruud in straight sets.

Alcaraz, whose raw power combined with incredible court coverage and deft touch has many touting him as not just a future major champion, but a potential contender this season, is now up to No. 11 in the rankings, having started the year at No. 32 with the stated goal for 2022 of ending in the Top 15, something that seems pretty guaranteed as he is currently No. 2 in the race to Turin behind his mentor, Rafael Nadal.

The number one ranking was up for grabs on the men’s side too. Had Daniil Medvedev reached the semi-finals, he would have retaken the top spot. However, he fell one match short, losing in the quarters to Hurkacz.

Medvedev then announced on Saturday that he had surgery to remove a hernia and will miss one-to-two months, likely keeping him out of the entire clay court swing and assuring Djokovic will keep the top spot for the foreseeable future.

The second week of Miami was quiet for the Canadians with all the singles players losing in week one and both Gabriela Dabrowski and Denis Shapovalov falling early in the week in doubles.

What to Watch: Auger-Aliassime, Fernandez kick off clay season

Hopefully you like the colour red, because there is going to be a lot of it on your television over the coming weeks as the clay court season kicks off this week with a bunch of 250-level events.

Félix Auger-Aliassime will look to shake off the disappointment of his tough Sunshine Double this week as he is the top seed at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco.

He opens his clay swing against a local wildcard and could have a chance at revenge in the quarter-finals against sixth seed Botic van de Zandschulp, who beat Auger-Aliassime in Indian Wells. Dan Evans is the second seed.

The Canadian No. 1 has not reached a clay-court final since 2019, when he reached his first two ATP finals both on the dirt.

Auger-Aliassime is not the only Canadian man competing this week, as Steven Diez will make his return to the ATP main tour, competing in his first main draw since 2019. Diez got into the US Men’s Clay Court Championship as a lucky loser and will play his first tour-level match in nearly three years against Jordan Thompson. He could play fifth seed Christian Garin in the second round.

As is often the case at 250 events in the United States, the Americans are very present in the draw, with Garin the only seeded player not from the host country. Taylor Fritz is the highest ranked player in the draw after Ruud withdrew.  

Leylah Fernandez will get her clay swing underway this week at the WTA 500 event in Charleston, where she is seeded seventh. After a bye, she will meet either Magda Linette or Katie Volynets. Fernandez could meet 11th seed Petra Kvitova in the third round and is in the same quarter as third seed Karolina Pliskova.

The draw in Charleston is strong with a pair of Top 5 players, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa, as the top two seeds.

There is also a 250 event in Bogota, with Camila Osorio as the top seed.

Under the Radar:

Last week was quiet on the lower tours, with Kelsey Stevenson’s quarter-final in Egypt being the lone notable result.

This week could be quiet on the tours again, with no Canadians competing on the Challenger tour and only a handful on the ITF.

One notable tournament to keep an eye on will be in Monastir, Tunisia, where a few of Canada’s top juniors will be competing in an ITF Tour event.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.