FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The week before a major finds tournaments dealing with last-minute withdrawals, walkovers and surprise winners, more than occasionally.
And so it was that Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, a lucky loser, went all the way to the title in Cleveland.
Sorribes Tormo was one of three lucky losers to win WTA titles in the last five weeks, after only three had done it during the entire history of the WTA before that.
It’s not a coincidence that Budapest, where Maria Timofeeva won, came the week after Wimbledon and Prague, where Nao Hibino won, came the week before two 1000s.
(Which is to take NOTHING away from Hibino who, because of persistent rain, finished her singles semifinal, won the final AND won the doubles final – all on the Monday).
The other issue this week is the fact that a year ago, there was a WTA 250 in Granby, Quebec. That tournament is gone, and so players who got an opportunity to make hay there had no opportunity to defend it.
ON THE UPSWING
Belinda Bencic (SUI): No. 15 ======> No. 13 (Bencic moves up two without doing a thing, because both Daria Kasatkina (at the one-off WTA tournament in Granby) and Liudmila Samsonova both dropped big points by not defending titles. The No. 15 seed plays Rakhimova in the first round in New York).
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS): No. 22 ======> No. 20 (Alexandrova back in the top 20 with her final in Cleveland. She faces Leylah Fernandez Tuesday in the first round of the US Open).
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP): No. 95 ======> No. 55 (Sorribes Tormo had been playing with a protected ranking of No. 68 after returning from injury. She’s already surpassed that with her great run in Cleveland as she leaps back into the top 60, with No. 28 seed Anhelina Kalinina – who withdrew in Cleveland – as her first-round opponent).
Leylah Fernandez (CAN): No. 72 ======> No. 67 (Fernandez slides back into the top 70 with a quarterfinal effort in Cleveland last week, although she doesn’t have it easy in the first round of the US Open as she faces No. 22 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova, a Cleveland finalist).
Claire Liu (USA): No. 81 ======> No. 69 (Liu made the final at the WTA 125 in Chicago, but gets No. 14 seed Liudmila Samsonova in the first round in New York).
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL): No. 104 ======> No. 82 (Tomova won the WTA 125 in Chicago to move back into the top 100. Her ranking was good enough at the entry deadline to get straight into the US Open, where she’ll play American Peyton Stearns in the first round).
Alexandra Eala (PHI): No. 217 ======> No. 195 (Last year’s US Open junior champion, who’s only 18 but seems to have been around forever, finally gets into the top 200 after making the final of an ITF in Aldershot. Her ranking was a little bit outside the cutoff to make the US Open qualifying this year, although you’d think as the reigning junior champion she’d be offered at least a qualies wild card. Perhaps she was, but turned it down).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Bernarda Pera (USA): No. 61 ======> No. 73 (Pera was at a career-high 27 a little over a year ago. She drops points from making the final at a WTA 125 in Cocord a year ago and will meet No. 16 seed Veronika Kudermetova in the first round of the US Open).
Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 65 ======> No. 79 (Cornet played Cleveland, but lost in the second round after making the semifinals a year ago. Her first-round opponent at the US Open is Avanesyan).
Diane Parry (FRA): No. 73 ======> No. 88 (Parry lost in the first round of the Chicago 125 as she defended semifinal points from last year’s Granby WTA. Katie Boulter is her first-round opponent in New York).
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR): No. 68 ======> No. 92 (Sasnovich’s ranking seems to bounce up and down more than average, perhaps because she’ll put in a very good result here and there, not back it up the next year, but put up another good result at some other tournament. She qualified and lost in the second round in Cleveland, but drops her points from her effort to get to the final a year ago. Notably, she defeated this year’s champion, Sara Sorribes Tormo, en route. She gets No. 24 seed Magda Linette in New York).
Sofia Kenin (USA): No. 93 ======> No. 101 (Kenin, who hasn’t played since Wimbledon, slides out of the top 100 again with her points from a Cleveland quarterfinal a year ago dropping off. She plays Ana Bogdan first up at the US Open).
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 108 ======> No. 121 (Siegemund drops points from qualifying and winning a round in Cleveland a year ago. The good news: she qualfied for the US Open main draw. The bad news: she gets Coco Gauff in the first round).
Katherine Sebov (CAN): No. 141 ======> No. 151 (Sebov slides out of the top 150 after losing in the first round of US Open qualifying to Yanina Wickmayer in a close one. She drops points from a second round in Granby last year)
Daria Saville (AUS): No. 192 ======> No. 322 (Saville, who has a protected ranking as she comes back from knee surgery, drops her actual ranking outside the top 300 as she loses her points from making the Granby final a year ago. Saville plays young junior Wimbledon champion Clervie Ngounoue in the first round, for the likely right to play Iga Swiatek in New York).
Marina Stakusic (CAN): No. 452 ======> No. 588 (The 18-year-old Canadian got her ranking as high as No. 361. But she drops points from the Granby last year, where she qualified and won a round, before losing to Marta Kostyuk in three sets. Stakusic made the quarterfinal at a $25K ITF in Spain last week, but it wasn’t enough to balance it).
Kayla Cross (CAN): No. 533 ======> No. 602 (Similar situation for 18-year-old Cross, who qualified in Granby last year. She’s headed to the NCAAs in the fall).