A WTA 1000 tournament in Guadalajara that, because of circumstances, ended up being somewhat of an orphan ended up morphing into a great opportunity for a number of players.
None more than 25-year-old American Caroline Dolehide, who began the week outside the top 100 and, after making the final, posts a massive new career high that will be a career changer for her.
And Maria Sakkari, who got to the final in Guadalajara in 2022 amid a stronger field, but who lost to Jessica Pegula in the final, got a do-over and posted the biggest victory of her career.
ON THE UPSWING
Maria Sakkari (GRE): No. 9 ==========> No. 6 (The biggest title of her career, only the second of her career, and a massive weight off the shoulders of a charming athlete who has only ever given it her best. Great news coming out of the week. She has a performance bye in the first round of Tokyo this week).
Caroline Garcia (FRA): No. 11 ==========> No. 10 (Not the result she wanted – particularly the quick way she was dispatched in the Guadalara semis. But Garcia is back in the top 10. She, too, has a performance bye in Tokyo and could face Sakkari again in the quarterfinals).
Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 23 ==========> No. 17 (The 34-year-old is back into the top 20 after making the Guadalajara quarterfinals).
Sofia Kenin (USA): No. 53 ==========> No. 31 (A fabulous two weeks in San Diego and Guadalajara for the 24-year-old American, who made the SD final and the Guadalajara semifinal and leaped from No. 93 to inside seeding range in two weeks).
Martina Trevisan (ITA): No. 54 ==========> No. 41 (For a player who seems to make most of her hay on the dirt, she has handled herself very well in some hard court events this year – including in Guadalajara, where she reached the quarterfinals).
Caroline Dolehide (USA): No. 111 ==========> No. 42 (A career-changing week for the 25-year-old American, who has been toiling mostly on the ITF circuit for 7-8 years, worked hard to remake her body and her game – and is seeing it all pay off).
Wang Xiyu (CHN): No. 88 ==========> No. 58 (Wang wins her first career WTA title at home in Guangzhou, and leaps 30 spots).
Leylah Fernandez (CAN): No. 74 ==========> No. 60 (Fernandez didn’t have it in her quarterfinal against Kenin. But still a great week that cut a swath off her ranking. Finishing in the top 50 for the year, after having been nearly out of the top 100, would be a good outcome. She’s off this week before heading to Asia).
Taylor Townsend (USA): No. 101 ==========> No. 89 (Townsend gets back into the top 100 with her third-round effort in Guadalajara. She’s entered in a $60K ITF in California this week).
Viktoria Hruncakova (SVK): No. 128 ==========> No. 113 (Hruncakova qualified and made the Guangzhou quarterfinals).
Emiliana Arango (COL): No. 180 ==========> No. 120 (As outclassed as she looked in the Guadalajara quarterfinals, she still did get there. And from No. 180 she moves up 60 spots, blowing by her previous career high of No. 166).
Hailey Baptiste (USA): No. 174 ==========> No. 137 (Baptiste has had some struggles since her initial breakthrough. But she has been playing better ball this summer and leaps 37 spots after making the round of 16 in Guadalajara after benefiting from the depleted field to get straight in).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 248 ==========> No. 214 (Bouchard dropped 30 spots when her points from her 2022 Chennai quarterfinal dropped off a week ago, but she got them back by winning just one round in Guadalajara. The question is, though – does it even matter? We don’t see her entered in any tournaments the rest of the season. Although that could obviously change as events are still offering her wild cards).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 242 ==========> No. 225 (It’s been a slog for Zhao, who has been sort of treading water this season. But qualifying in Guadalajara meant a nice little bump).
Marina Stakusic (CAN): No. 441 ==========> No. 301 (The 18-year-old Canadian had a great run to win the ITF $60K in Berkeley, helped by playing a couple of players younger than her including countrywoman Victoria Mboko, and getting a retirement against the No. 1 seed, Madison Brengle. It’s a new career high).
Allie Kiick (USA): No. 539 ==========> No. 410 (Kiick, 28, was sidelined by injury forever, dropping way down from her career high of No. 126 in June, 2019. She even took up pickleball for a little while before finally getting back on the circuit, and qualified in Berkeley before losing in the final to the Canadian Stakusic. Just another example of how tennis players are among the most persevering people on the planet).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Liudmila Samsonova (RUS): No. 17 ==========> No. 22 (Samsonova was peerless in winning Tokyo last year, not dropping a set, when the event was a week earlier. She beat Rybakina, Wang Xinyu, Muguruza (!!!!), Zhang Shuai and Zheng Qinwen in the final. So those points already drop off. Samsonova gets Tatjana Maria in the first round this year, and has a tough little quarter of the draw).
Petra Martic (CRO): No. 39 ==========> No. 49 (Martic made the Tokyo quarterfinals a year ago, so those points drop. She gets Misaki Doi – who was in the qualifying, won a match, gave Ashlyn Krueger a walkover in the final round, but somehow ends up in the main draw).
Bianca Andreescu (CAN): No. 63 ==========> No. 70 (She’s supplanted by Fernandez as the No. 1 Canadian, after skipping San Diego and Guadalajara this year. She doesn’t appear to be entered in anything the rest of the season. Will she play BJK Cup?)
Claire Liu (USA): No. 69 ==========> No. 83 (Liu also was a quarterfinalist in Tokyo a year ago, but lost in the first round of the 250 in Guangzhou this past week. She faces No. 3 seed Sorana Cirstea in the first round of Ningbo).
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL): No. 85 ==========> No. 98 (Tomova played the WTA 125 in Parma on clay last week, but lost in the quarterfinals. She made the final of a similar tournament in Budapest a year ago).
Tamara Korpatsch (GER): No. 78 ==========> No. 107 (Korpatsch lost in the first round of Guangzhou, while dropping her points from winning the Budapest 125 a year ago).
Zhang Shuai (CHN): No. 124 ==========> No. 187 (After seeing her ranking hold firm over an absolutely brutal year, the 34-year-old’s points are dropping off now, including this week with her semifinal effort in Tokyo a year ago. She mentioned this summer that she hadn’t been home in three years. It seems as though she’s not coming home during the WTA’s return to China, either).
Emma Raducanu (GBR): No. 214 ==========> No. 277 (A lot of tennis fans waiting for news of a date for Raducanu’s return, although that obviously won’t be this season. She’ll have a protected ranking – although not a super-high one – when she does return).
Fernanda Contreras (MEX): No. 305 ==========> No. 449 (Not sure what happened to the 25-year-old from Mexico with the onehanded topspin backhand, who was ranked at a career high No. 139 almost exactly a year ago. She drops points from qualifying and winning a round in Tokyo a year ago – including a win over Kenin in the first round – not made up by a semifinal at an ITF in Kyoto, Japan).
Cana-Qiwi Erin Routliffe is up five spots in the individual doubles rankings, to another career high of No. 15, after she and Gabriela Dabrowski reached the Guadalajara final. They are the top seeds in Tokyo this week.
And the Guadalajara champions, Elise Mertens and Storm Hunter, are the new No. 1 and No. 2 in the world. It’s a career high for Hunter; Mertens has been there before, back in May 2021.
THE RACE TO CANCUN
Four players are now officially qualified for the WTA Finals in singles. And Maria Sakkari put herself in the conversation again with her win in Mexico.
Feeling the heat a little, Ons Jabeur took a wild card into this week’s event in Ningbo.
DOUBLES RACE TO CANCUN
Fernandez and Townsend move up to No. 6 with their Guadalajara effort, and Dabrowski-Routliffe move up to No. 9. Could there be a TON of Canadian content at the Tour Finals?