A somewhat decimated tournament that’s a bit of an orphan in 2023 (but will come back stronger in 2024) was always going to produce somewhat of a surprise winner.
And so it was that two wild cards got to the San Diego final. But two wild cards who were also former Grand Slam champions.
In the end, it was No. 4 seed Barbora Krejcikova who won over Sofia Kenin (and won the doubles as well, with Katerina Siniakova).
In Osaka, where it was hot and humid and attendance was sparse, it was 19-year-old Ashlyn Krueger, ranked No. 123, who moved up 50 spots with her first career WTA Tour win.
ON THE UPSWING
Jessica Pegula (USA): No. 5 ==========> No. 4 (Pegula moves up one because Elena Rybakina drops some points getting to the final of a tournament in Portoroz, Slovenia a year ago. And that’s even though the American (who has played over 100 matches this year, is taking a breather from San Diego and Guadalajara. But Pegula is the defending champion in Guadalajara, so when those 900 points drop off things are likely to switch up again).
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 13 ==========> No. 10 (Krejcikova wasn’t planning to play San Diego. But after poor results in the summer events coming back fron injury, she added it – and win it to get back into the top 10. She isn’t playing Guadalajara).
Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA): No. 20 ==========> No. 18 (Tough draws for Haddad Maia, who did get to the San Diego quarterfinals but got Krejcikova. She gets Danielle Collins in the first round of Guadalajara).
Zhu Lin (CHN): No. 35 ==========> No. 31 (She’s not talked about that much, but the 20-year-old from China moves up four after getting to the Osaka final. It’s a career high).
Danielle Collins (USA): No. 43 ==========> No. 34 (Collins lost in the San Diego semifinals, with an upper left thigh injury hampering her in that match even though she went in to get through a doubles semi and into the final with Coco Vandeweghe, for whom it was a career swan song. She’s getting back closer to where she should be, but has a tough draw in Guadalajara with Haddad Maia as her opener).
Emma Navarro (USA): No. 61==========> No. 49 (Ranked No. 61 coming in – and at many 500s this year, she would have had a tough time even getting into the qualifying – Navarro made the most of San Diego, going from the qualies to the semis and moving into the top 50 for the first time in her career).
Sofia Kenin (USA): No. 93 ==========> No. 53 (It’s been a long, hard slog back for Kenin, who has missed a lot of time over the last few years and dropped off a shelf from her career high of No. 4. She made the San Diego final and leaps 40 spots. She gets Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao in the first round of Guadalajara).
Ashlyn Krueger (USA): No. 123 ==========> No. 73 (The rapidly-improving 19-year-old makes a big leap with her first career WTA title in Osaka. She beat No. 1 seed Zhu Lin in the final, and obviously is at a career high. She will play the qualies in Tokyo – and also the doubles with coach Michael Joyce’s previous student, Jessica Pegula).
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS): No. 92 ==========> No. 77 (Kalinskaya, whose career high is No. 51, dropped some as she missed some time due to injury. But she rebounds with a quarterfinal showing in Osaka).
Céline Naef (SUI): No. 152 ==========> No. 125 (Still just 18, Naef wins a $60K ITF in Le Beubourg and improves on last week’s career high to a new high. She probably deserves a profile pic).
Astra Sharma (AUS): No. 216 ==========> No. 148 (The former No. 84 wins an ITF in Bucharest and moves up nearly 70 spots, back into the top 150).
Alina Korneeva (RUS): No. 217 ==========> No. 186 (The 16-year-0ld Australian Open junior champion – notably, she defeated fast-rising Mirra Andreeva in that final – jumps into the top 200 with a final at the Le Neubourg ITF).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR): No. 40 ==========> No. 46 (Tsurenko’s ranking tends to be up and down because she often doesn’t follow the same schedule from year to year. She drops points from a quarterfinal effort in Portoroz last year, and six spots in the rankings).
Nadia Podoroska (ARG): No. 71 ==========> No. 84 (Podoroska worked hard to get herself back into the top 100 after injury. But she drops after losing in the second round in Osaka. Podoroska was defending points from making the semifinals of the Chennal Open last year).
Katerina Siniakova (CZE): No. 54 ==========> No. 90 (Siniakova has been dealing with a wrist injury this year and hasn’t played that much. She lost in the first round of qualifying in San Diego – and drops the points from a great effort in winning the WTA event in Portoroz, Slovenia a year ago. She beat Rybakina in that final. She and Krejcikova did win the San Diego doubles, though, which allowed Siniakova to squeeze past Pegula and Coco Gauff and back into the No. 1 spot in the individual rankings).
Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE): No. 68 ==========> No. 117 (Still only 18, Fruhvirtova’s had more trouble winning matches in 2023 when it all seemed so easy for her on the way up. She lost in the first round of Osaka. dropping points from her first career title in Chennai a year ago. It was her seventh consecutive first-round loss; she has won just one match since moving into the top 50 for the first time after a quarterfinal effort in Birmingham on the grass. Her current coach is listed as Mike James, who works mostly with the Mouratoglou setup providing analytics and would not be considered an actual tennis coach. She also works with her father. Which might be part of the issue. She had a brief trial with Sven Groeneveld earlier this year, but there doesn’t seem to be much consistency on that front).
Katie Swan (GBR): No. 174 ==========> No. 229 (After getting as high as No. 118 less than a year ago after an excellent junior career, it hasn’t happened yet for the 24-year-old Brit, who drops points from last year’s Chennai semifinal and drops out of the top 200).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 218 ==========> No. 248 (The future pickleball star and occasional tennis player drops points from her quarterfinal effort in Chennal last year. It was the last time she won back-to-back matches at the WTA Tour main-draw level; in fact, she has won just one since then – in Madrid against Dayana Yastremska in April. Before that, her last main-draw win was against Kayla Day in Guadalajara – where she again returns this week on a wild card. Bouchard drew Renata Zarazua in the first round on Sunday, and with that win, makes up those points she lost and so will climb back up next Monday).