Ashleigh Barty solidified her case as the world No. 1 – not that she ever did, but she did to *some people* – by rolling to a win at the Cincinnati tournament.
She didn’t drop a set. And even though she played Grand Slam champions Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Angelique Kerber on the way, her toughest match ended up being … her first one, against qualifier Heather Watson.
The significance of that is unknown, other than it was her first match since the Olympics.
Barty is over 3,000 points ahead of Aryna Sabalenka, the new No. 2.
Meanwhile, young Brit Emma Raducanu made the most of her wild card and reached the final at a 125K tournament in Chicago. She lost to former Australian Open junior champion Clara Tauson in the final, after a great run.
ON THE UPSWING
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): No. 3 ==========> No. 2 (The Belarusian now jumps ahead of Naomi Osaka by about 50 points, to a new career high, after Osaka fails to defend her points from last year’s Cincinnati final).
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 10 ==========> No. 9 (Because her rise to prominence is so relatively recent, Krejcikova has plenty of opportunities to add points, and few to defend for awhile. She moves up a spot to another career high).
Angelique Kerber (GER): No. 22 ==========> No. 17 (Kerber moves back into the top 20, and you’d figure there’s a good chance she might slide into a top 16 seed with one withdrawal ahead of her. That’ll help her case in New York).
Paula Badosa (ESP): No. 29 ==========> No. 26 (Another new high for Badosa, after a quarterfinal effort in Cincinnati during which her shoulder basically took her out of the game).
Madison Keys (USA): No. 42 ==========> No. 41 (Keys moves up one, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to last week’s rankings, where she dropped from No. 26 to No. 42 and unseeded status in New York. Given the way she’s been playing of late, that might well be a moot point).
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP): No. 44 ==========> No. 43 (She moved up from No. 48 to No. 44 after Montreal, and another spot this week for another new career high. Slowly, but surely).
Jil Teichmann (SUI): No. 76 ==========> No. 44 (After Montreal, the 24-year-old Swiss had dropped from No. 65 to No. 76. She makes that up – and more – as a wild card who soared to the final in Cincinnati. She defeated Naomi Osaka, gold-medal compatriot Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova on the way to the final. There, the body barked a little and Barty was too much).
Clara Tauson (DEN): No. 101 ==========> No. 77 (Still just 18 but out there grinding in the pro circuit for awhile after winning the junior Australian Open over Leylah Fernandez a couple of years ago, Tauson wins the Chicago 125K over Emma Raducanu in the final to reach a new career high. She doesn’t have any friends in high federation places, so she’s doing it on her own).
Emma Raducanu (GBR): No. 174 ==========> No. 150 (The young standout at Wimbledon this year gets to a career high and breaks the top 150 at age 18, after making the final at the Chicago 125K as a wild card)
Mirjam Bjorklund (SWE): No. 337 ==========> No. 269 (The 23-year-old Swede, better known as the better half of top men’s player Denis Shapovalov, makes a big move in the rankings by winning a $25K ITF in Belgium two weeks ago. It’s a career high for her).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 333 ==========o> No. 293 (Zhao rises 40 spots in the rankings, even though she didn’t play. She had dropped from No. 291 to No. 333 the week of Montreal. And now she’s back again. We don’t know why).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Naomi Osaka (USA): No. 2 ==========> No. 3 (Osaka has played little in the last year. But she helped preserve her ranking by winning the Australian Open. Now, with the Cincinnati points gone and the US Open coming up, it’ll be an interesting time).
Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 13 ==========> No. 19 (Azarenka wasn’t able to defend what she did last year, winning the Cincinnati tournament in New York).
Camila Giorgi (ITA): No. 33 ==========> No. 36 (The Montreal champion, who rose from No. 71 to No. 33 with the effort, drops down three spots and may yet still be unseeded at the US Open. And she keeps playing. Understandably out early in Cincinnati in a rematch against Jessica Pegula, she’s back on the train this week).
Johanna Konta (GBR): No. 36 ==========> No. 47 (Konta retired in Cincinnati, and pulled out of a smaller tournament this week because of a “change of schedule”)
Magda Linette (POL): No. 43==========> No. 51
Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 57 ==========> No. 68
Leylah Fernandez (CAN): No. 68 ==========> No. 72
Marie Bouzkova (CZE): No. 77 ==========> No. 86
Vera Zvonareva (RUS): No. 84 ==========> No. 101 (After working so hard to get her ranking back inside the top 100, the 36-year-old drops just outside it).
Christina McHale (USA): No. 106 ==========> No. 119
Venus Williams (USA): No. 147 ==========> Same (Venus Williams didn’t move this week. But last week, when the WTA’s website malfunction didn’t produce updated rankings until late in the week, she dropped from No. 142 to No. 147. She has another wild card this week in Chicago, where she will play Hsieh Su-Wei Monday night).
Catherine Bellis (USA): No. 152 ==========> No. 177 (The 22-year-old – is it, ‘Wow, she’s still only 22′ or “Wow, she’s 22, when did that happen?’ – hasn’t played since last November. She qualified and made the second round at the NY/Cincy tournament a year ago, and that leaves the charts. Her career high of No. 35 was four long years ago).