The last big event before Roland Garros (with apologies to the 250s that come the next two weeks) means some big-time changes.
And Rome champion Iga Swiatek, who was the No. 15 seed before she dropped a pair of bagels upon 2019 champion Karolina Pliskova, now is in the top 10.
She drops Pliskova a spot to No. 10 – the schmear atop those bagels, as it were.
TOURNAMENTS DROPPING: Both 2019 Rome and 2020 Rome are dropping off this week. Unless a player did better in 2020 than she did this year, in which case the 2020 points will remain on the computer until the dates of the 2020 event last fall come around again.
ON THE UPSWING
Iga Swiatek (POL): No. 15 ============> No. 9 (Swiatek lost in the first round in Rome last year, to Dutch lefty Arantxa Rus. And yet, she still went on to win Roland Garros. She topped herself this week by taking the winner’s trophy – but the long-term picture can’t get any better than it was last fall! But it adds a nice dose of confidence and matches before she gets there).
Petra Martic (CRO): No. 25 ============> No. 23 (With new coach Francesca Schiavone, Martic had a renaissance week in Rome. Unseeded, she came out of the section of the draw that had Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams in it. But she did it by toppling the players who had taken them out – and went all the way to the semifinals).
Jessica Pegula (USA): No. 31 ============> No. 28 (The 27-year-old American continues to show that it doesn’t matter much what surface she’s on, she’s just a solid bet these days. She’ll no be a dangerous floater in the majors. And that will make a lot of other seeds happy).
Cori Gauff (USA): No. 35 ============> No. 30 (In retrospect, her loss to Swiatek looks a whole lot different, doesn’t it? Gauff’s serve got steadier for most of the week in Rome, although it faltered a bit in the semis against the eventual champion. She’ll be seeded in Paris, where she won the junior event just three years ago).
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 40 ============> No. 38 (She probably should have beaten Swiatek in the third r0ound, because the Polish teenager was in quite a state. But she didn’t. And the rest is history. Still, Krejcikova is sort of the European Pegula in the way that, relatively later on, she’s come into her own in singles).
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 49 ============> No. 41 (It’s been eons since the 2017 Roland Garros champion made a positive move upwards. Her quarterfinal effort in Rome (she lost to Pliskova in a third-set tiebreak there) got her to within 10 points of the top 40. She’s been rolling around in the 40s and 50s in the rankings for far too long now, though).
Nadia Podoroska (ARG): No. 44 ============> No. 42 (Podoroska has done relatively well in the wake of the increased expectations her semifinal in Paris last fall created. This is another career high for her, after making the third round in Rome And she won her first-round match in Belgrade on Sunday, too. She can still hang on to those Paris ranking points until the 2020 dates of the event, which gives her a bit of a cushion as she arrives there to “defend”).
Vera Zvonareva (RUS): No. 113 ============> No. 96 (It’s been a long, long road on a protected ranking and a willingness to go through qualifying. But the 36-year-old former No. 2 is finally back in the top 100 on her own merits. It’s the first time since before the 2013 Australian Open that Zvonareva has had double digits next to her name that weren’t her protected ranking).
Irina Bara (ROU): No. 133 ============> No. 121 (This tiny Romanian, 26 (she looks 12 until you get real close), reached the final of the $100K ITF in Bonita Springs, Fla. and is six spots shy of her career best).
Clara Burel (FRA): No. 166 ============> No. 144 (One of a number of young Frenchwomen trying to make a mark, the 20-year-old won the $60K ITF in Saint-Gaudens this week, reaching another career high. Burel was the No. 1 junior in the world in 2018, when she made the final of both the Australian Open and US Open junior events).
Katie Volynets (USA): No. 299 ============> No. 200 (The 19-year-old jumped nearly 100 spots to a career high by winning the $100K ITF in Bonita Springs, Fla. as a wild card. Too bad it came a little too late to make it into the Roland Garros qualifying. She’s 19-8 on the year and lopped more than 100 spots off her ranking).
Irina Fetecau (ROU): No. 310 ============> No. 238 (Never heard of this 25-year-old Romanian. But that’s a nice jump to a career high after she went from the qualifying to the semifinals in Bonita Springs. Fetecau’s junior ITF ranking high was NO. 457. And she only played one year, in 2012, and only at the lower levels. Since 2013, she’s been grinding it out, week after week, mostly at the lower levels of the ITFs. You wonder how they do it).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 364============> No. 328 (Slowly but surely for the 25-year-old Canadian, who sees the fruits of her finals appearance in Ecuador a week ago translate into ranking areas. She was ranked No. 549 to start 2021).
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ): No. 665 ============> No. 433 (Playing on a protected ranking after she went off the Tour and had twins, the 33-year-old former Wimbledon doubles champion isn’t just satisfied to come back in doubles. She came back from an 0-6 first set to beat Martina Trevisan in a third-set tiebreak in the first round of Rome, before bowing out to Ashleigh Barty. And that was worth 232 spots, in that area of the rankings).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Petra Kvitova (CZE): No. 10 ============> No. 12
Danielle Collins (USA): No. 55 ============> No. 61 (Collins had some tennis-unrelated surgery last month, and hasn’t been to Europe. Her second-round points from the 2019 Italian Open drop).
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA): No. 53 ============> No. 59 (Free of her longtime, very successful partnership with Timea Babos to focus on her singles, Mladenovic got in as a lucky loser and got to the second round this year. But she drops the 220 points from her run from the qualifying to the quarters in 2019. Ironically, she did make the Rome doubles final with Marketa Vondrousova. And that vaults her back into the No. 1 spot in the doubles rankings).
Venus Williams (USA): No. 87 ============> No. 102 (At this point, the 40-year-old’s ranking doesn’t really matter. She can still play wherever she wants. But to see her out of the top 100 for the first time since March 19, 2012 remains a shock. She made the third round of Rome in 2019, benefiting from a walkover from sister Serena in the second round, and then losing to Johanna Konta. The sisters took late wild cards into the her WTA 250 event in Parma this week, and both play qualifiers Monday. In Venus’s case, it’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who shocked her at the French Open last fall).
Xiyu Wang (CHN): No. 135 ============> No. 145 (The 20-year-old Chinese leftie seems to be in the ascendant part of her career. So it’s strange to see her ranking drop like that. But she won a $60K ITF in La Bisbal D’Emporda, Spain in 2019. And those points drop off. Part of the small pains along the way when you’re making the transition up to the top level).
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU): No. 157 ============> No. 179 (The 33-year-old Romanian lefty had a ton of good fortune at the 2019 Italian Open. She won her first two rounds on retirements from Julia Goerges and Jelena Ostapenko, before losing in the third round to Naomi Osaka. But those points are finally now gone).
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 230 ============> No. 264 (Marino lost in the final round of qualifying in Parma, Italy Sunday to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. These points are from a $60K in Japan that she won two years ago, as she was beginning her comeback).
Road to Shenzhen