February 26, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

The final WTA 1000 of the season produced a few surprises, but no major changes at the top of the rankings.

And before the end of the week, the eight players qualified for the WTA Finals in three weeks were already determined.

That took a little suspense out of the thing – especially when you remember some of the frantic races in the last few years that came down to the wire.

There are no changes in the top 10, but plenty of changes below that.

The notable drop was from veteran Alizé Cornet, who slipped out of the top 100 in the WTA rankings for the first time she she … slipped in for the first time, more than 16 years ago. A remarkable run of consistency.

For the complete, updated WTA rankings, click here.

ON THE UPSWING

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 17 =========> No. 13 (It’s the highest ranking Ostapenko has had since January after making the Beijing quarterfinals. The former Seoul champion, seeded No. 2, gets Korean wild card Dayeon Back in the first round there).

Liudmila Samsonova (RUS): No. 22 =========> No. 16 (A great run through three former Grand Slam champions ended in the Beijing final against a far-too-good Iga Swiatek. Samsonova, who was dealing with a shoulder issue, is scheduled to face Tatjana Maria in the first round of Zhengzhou).

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Jasmine Paolini (ITA): No. 36 =========> No. 31 (The 27-year-old reaches a career high after making the third round in Beijing. She plays lucky loser Moyuka Uchijima in Zhengzhou).

Wang Xinyu (CHN): No. 37 =========> No. 32 (Wang also made the third round, and gets to a career high. She will play Elina Avanesyan in Hong Kong).

Mirra Andreeva (RUS): No. 60 =========> No. 50 (Andreeva went from the qualifying to the third round in Beijing, where she lost to Elena Rybakina after leading a set and a break. She breaks into the top 50 for the first time after being outside the top 300 in March, and gets a tough one in the first round of Hong Kong against Dayana Yastremska).

Linda Fruhvirtova (CZE): No. 98 =========> No. 88 (It’s been a tough sort of sophomore season for the 18-year-old, whose career high of No. 49 came in June. She caught a break a week ago in Ningbo, when she was losing to Rebeka Masarova in the first round but ended up winning on a retirement. She ran that all the way to the semifinals to get back into the top 100. This past week, she moves up another 10 spots with one win in Beijing. Fruhvirtova will play No. 7 seed Peyton Stearns in the first round of Hong Kong).

Jennifer Brady (USA): No. 261 =========> No. 222 (Brady is still using a protected ranking of No. 14. But she moves her actual ranking up  by winning a round in Beijing. She’s not playing anywhere this week).

Layne Sleeth (CAN): No. 934 =========> No. 848 (Freshly graduated from the University of Oklahoma and looking to make waves in the pros, the 22-year-old Canadian adds points from making the semis of an ITF at Hilton Head two weeks ago).

ON THE DOWNSWING

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 12 =========> No. 18 (It’s not the year Krejcikova wanted, that’s for sure, as her points from winning the WTA 500 in Ostrava a year ago drop off. She won’t make the WTA Finals in singles, although she and Katerina Siniakova have qualified in doubles. She’s the No. 7 seed in Zhengzhou but with the withdrawals of Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina was moved up to the top spot in the draw. After a first-round bye, she’ll play Petra Martic or Magda Linette).

Elise Mertens (BEL): No. 29 =========> No. 41 (Mertens got herself back into the top 30 with after Guadalajara. But she drops her points from winning the WTA 250 in Monastir a year ago, after losing in the first round of Beijing. She will play a qualifier in the first round in Hong Kong).

Alycia Parks (USA): No. 43 =========> No. 53 (Parks’s up-and-down season continues, as she loses in the first round of Beijing, drops her pounds from a qualies-to-quarters run in Ostrava a year ago, and drops out of the top 50. She meets Polina Kudermetova in the first round of Seoul and will be looking for a run, because the American finished the 2022 season strongly in November. She made the semis of a $80K ITF, won a WTA 125 in Andorra and another in Loire. That’s a lot of points to defend very late in the season).

Caty McNally (USA): No. 85 =========> No. 96 (The talented 21-year-old American hasn’t played since losing to Jodie Burrage in the first round of Wimbledon, and drops her points from going qualies-to-quarters in Ostrava last year. She has a lot more points to defend the rest of the year, including from winning the Dow Classic 125 in early November 2022. So you would think, even if she might think of returning to action this year, she’ll stick it out and use a protected ranking as of early January, 2024).

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Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 96 =========> No. 121 (The 33-year-old Frenchwoman drops out of the top 100 for the first time since she first broke that barrier, all the way back in July 2007. The drop comes as points from a final in Monastir a year ago drop off. Cornet was at No. 36 to start 2023. She’s playing the WTA 125 in Rouen, rather than the Asian swing; she hasn’t played since a WTA 125 on clay in Italy, during the second week of the US Open. No doubt she’ll try to grab some points in the next few weeks to avoid having to qualifying in Australia).

Tereza Martincova (CZE): No. 120 =========> No. 150 (Idle last week – indeed, since losing in the first round of qualifying at the US Open – Martincova drops her points from a quarterfinal in Ostrava last October).

Genie Bouchard (CAN): No. 218 =========> No. 232 (It doesn’t look as though Bouchard is playing any more in 2023 – or ever? TBD. Her points drop from winning two matches and qualifying in Ostrava a year ago drop off. A year ago, she played four more tournaments before ending her season, but posted just one match win, against Kayla Day in the first round of Guadalajara).

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 299 =========> No. 430 (Tomljanovic made it back after being out all season, for one match at the US Open. She was given a wild card into Guadalajara and lost in the first round there to Taylor Townsend. She drops points from qualifying and wining a round in Ostrava last year).

THE CANADIANS

THE WTA FINALS QUALIFIERS

The eight qualifiers are already in – but a battle remains to be an alternate, with Maria Sakkari looking to be big-time in the driver’s seat.

THE DOUBLES RACE

Still three spots to be determined in the doubles race to Cancun – until the WTA announced Monday that Schuurs-Krawczyk and Aoyama-Shibahara also have qualified, with Townsend-Fernandez on different continents at this point and unable to add to their total.

If Cana-Kiwi team Dabrowski and Routliffe could win this week in Zhengzhou (they have bowed out early in their tournaments since winning the US Open, but won their opener Monday) they could all but secure a spot. No. 8 Zvonareva and Siegemund are also in Zhengzhou.

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