Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova were both victorious at the Rogers Cup in Toronto as the race to become the world No 1 on Monday takes shape.
Ashleigh Barty’s shock first-round loss to Sofia Kenin opened the door for either Osaka or Pliskova to leave Canada with top spot.
Osaka’s victory on Wednesday guaranteed that the No 1 ranking would switch hands at the tournament’s conclusion and now all eyes will be on the duo’s results.
Karolina Pliskova must advance into the semi-finals to have a chance of returning to world No 1.
However, if Naomi Osaka advances to the quarters then Pliskova would need to reach the final.
In the event that Osaka and Pliskova meet in the Championship match, the winner would take home the title and No 1 ranking.
Osaka eased into the third round after taking the opening set 6-2 against Tatjana Maria before the qualifier was forced to retire.
Maria wasn’t able to cope with an abdominal injury but the opening 33 minutes indicated that Osaka would have prevailed anyway if the match had gone the distance.
Osaka has recently spoken about her ‘rough’ 2019 so far. This was her first match since losing in the first round of Wimbledon and after the victory, the 21-year-old was content with her work.
“I thought I played really well despite the fact that we only played one set,” said the second seed.
“I think that I was able to do what I wanted, which was go for the shots that I had the opportunity to. For me, I’m just happy that it was my first match in a while and I was able to get in the groove of things quickly.”