There’s no better illustration of what a crapshoot October is on the pro tours when you have Tamara Korpatsch vs wild card Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the final of a WTA 250.
And Korpatsch wins her first career WTA title against the home-country favorite.
That’s kind of how it goes. And with three WTA tournaments during the final week of the regular season – and a couple of additional wrinkles in the scheduling – there were plenty of surprises.
Denied by Leylah Fernandez last week in Hong Kong – and looking rather buggered physically in the process – Katerina Siniakova nevertheless plowed onto Nanchang, the final stop in Asia.
And she was rewarded with a title – coming back from losing the first set to hard-luck kid Marie Bouzkova and taking the second and third sets in tiebreaks. It’s her second title of the season.
This weeks marks the fall of points from the WTA 1000 in Guadalajara, which was held this past week a year ago, but was later this year. That contributes to the drops for both Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari, along with Coco Gauff.
This is also that *weird* week where the WTA removes the points from last year’s WTA Finals – BEFORE the players have an opportunity to defend those points. It’s the week that allowed Genie Bouchard to be No. 5 in the world, for a week, when she qualified for Singapore in 2014.
It doesn’t change things for Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff, who remain the top three in the same order after dropping somewhat similar numbers of points and being spaced quite far apart. Ons Jabeur, at No. 7, drops 500 points but still stays ahead of No. 8 Karolina Muchova.
There are a LOT of moves this week, including on the Canadian side; we winnowed them down to the most notable ones and there are still a ton of them. Enjoy.
For the complete, updated WTA rankings for Monday, click here.
WTA FINALS CHANGES
Elena Rybakina (KAZ): No. 5 =========> No. 4 (Rybakina moves up because Pegula’s 1155 points from last year in Fort Worth, and Guadalajara, fall).
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE): No. 8 =========> No. 6 (Same for Vondrousova, because of the drops from Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari).
Maria Sakkari (GRE): No. 6 =========> No. 9 (Sakkari drops 1,230 points from Guadalajara and Fort Worth, and can’t get them back unless someone withdraws from Cancun and she gets in as an alternate).
Daria Kasatkina (RUS): No. 11 =========> No. 17 (Same for Kasatkina, who drops 540 points and has no chance to be able to make them up).
Caroline Garcia (FRA): No. 10 =========> No. 20 (Garcia is hurt the most, dropping from the top 10 to barely in the top 20 because she won the WTA Finals a year ago, and didn’t qualify this year).
ON THE UPSWING
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 13 =========> No. 10 (Krejcikova moves back into the top 10, but basically by default; she rises because Keys, Kasatkina and Garcia all drop ahead of her)
Elise Mertens (BEL): No. 36 =========> No. 30 (Mertens wins in Monastir and moves up six spots)
Leylah Fernandez (CAN): No. 43=========> No. 35 (What a great two weeks for the Canadian, who made the Nanchang semifinals and moves up another nine. She gained 26 spots in the rankings in those last two weeks in Asia, and can think about being seeded in Australia – which will improve the prospects for her draw significantly. She should be headed to Cancun as an alternate in the doubles with Taylor Townsend).
Katerina Siniakova (CZE): No. 60 =========> No. 46 (Siniakova also had a great two weeks, with the final in Hong Kong and the title in Nanchang on Sunday. She needed three hours and 33 minutes to get through Marie Bouzkova after losing the first set 6-1 – the longest final on the WTA Tour this year. after She cut her ranking nearly in half in those two weeks, and also heads to Cancun for doubles).
Diana Shnaider (RUS): No. 72 =========> No. 60 (A career high for the 19-year-old Russian after a successful first trip to Asia. She makes the Nanchang semifinal).
Taylor Townsend (USA): No. 80 =========> No. 66 (Townsend wins the ITF in Macon, Georgia which put her ranking just five off her career high. Her decision to skip Asia and focus on getting points on the ITF circuit at home has been fruitful, and she has another WTA 125 in Tampico this coming week, after which she’ll have to skip Midland to be a doubles alternate in Cancun).
Tamara Korpatsch (GER): No. 105 =========> No. 71 (Of all the October surprises, the 28-year-old German winning her first career WTA title in Cluj-Napoca is probably the biggest one. It’s a career high).
Eva Lys (GER): No. 133 =========> No. 114 (The 21-year-old was the subject of the typical online hate after losing in the Cluj-Napoca semifinals, but she’s near a career high and gains nearly 20 spots with that effort).
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU): No. 188 =========> No. 127 (The former No. 51, who got a wild card into her home-country tournament in Cluj, makes the most of it and gets all the way to the final. That puts a big dent in her fallen ranking and finishes the year on an excellent note).
Katherine Sebov (CAN): No. 155 =========> No. 141 (Sebov, who has dealt with some low-key injuries this year, nevertheless is only five off her career high after winning the Saguenay ITF without dropping a set. She’s the top seed again in Toronto this week).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 219 =========> No. 196 (It took a lot of work for the 28-year-old Canadian to get back into the top 200, after falling ou July. She played some tournaments in China to do that. But, like Marino – below – she has chosen to represent Canada at the Pan-Am Games instead of keeping that momentum going and getting the ranking up even further before the end of 2023).
Fiona Crawley (USA): No. 559 =========> No. 430 (Crawley, 21, first appeared in a substantial way at the US Open, where she qualified for the main draw. She wins the ITF in Florence, is 17-5 on the pro circuits for the year and moves up another 128 spots to a new career high. She was just getting going at the top ITF level when the pandemic came, ending basically all junior play that year. That didn’t help; Crawley went to college – North Carolina – but had to forfeit more than $80K in prize money from the US Open that might have launched her pro career to finish up her college career. The Tar Heels won the NCAAs. But unlike a lot of college athletes who are cashing in on their college notoriety, she comes out in the red).
Hannah Klugman (GBR): No. 1101 =========> No. 734 (If it feels that the young Brit has been on the radar for awhile, her experience is scant and she’s still only 14. She qualified and made the quarterfinals at the $100K ITF in Shrewsbury, GB last week).
Isabelle Boulais (CAN): No. 9999 =========> No. 763 (The 23-year-old Canadian, who played her college tennis at Ohio State, re-appears on the computer after taking a wild card to the Saguenay ITF and making the semifinals).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 20 =========> No. 22 (Azarenka’s season is done, but the points from her effort to get to the semifinals of the Oct. 22 edition of Guadalajara fall off).
Marie Bouzkova (CZE): No. 29 =========> No. 34 (Anecdotally, Bouzkova seems to lose more of these types of matches than most – 1-6, 7-6, 7-6 to countrywoman Katerina Siniakova in the Nanchang final. She was defending semifinal points from last year’s Guadalajara tournament).
Sloane Stephens (USA): No. 39 =========> No. 49 (Feels like this is Stephens’s range these days – 39-49 and when she gains, she eventually falls back. Stephens was on vacay, and drops points from he Guadalajara quarterfinal a year ago).
Danielle Collins (USA): No. 49 =========> No. 56 (Idle, Collins drops points from a third round in Guadalajara last October).
Bianca Andreescu (CAN): No. 78 =========> No. 92 (There seem to be rumblings that the former world No. 4 is going to hit the practice court again soon? In the meantime, she drops points from her third round at 2022 Guadalajara and finds herself perilously close to falling out of the top 100).
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS): No. 83 ========> No. 115 (Tough for Kalinskaya, who missed the entire summer this year – from Rome through to the US Open. She drops out of the top 100 with her quarterfinal points from Guadalajara a year ago – she retired there, as she did in three of her last four tournaments in 2022 and will be looking at having to qualify at the Australian Open unless she does some late-season things. She is in the draw at the Tampico WTA 125 this week to try to do just that).
Madison Brengle (USA): No. 126 =========> No. 149 (Brengle is usually good to go at this time of the year as far as the AO is concerned, or she’s piling up the points for the USTA wild card. But she’s hasn’t played since retiring in a match at an ITF in Berkleley a month ago, and her points from winning the $60K in Macon, Ga. last year fall off).
Ysaline Bonaventure (BEL): No. 141 =========> No. 160 (Bonaventure has chronicled the fact that she needed to step off the crazy train for awhile, for the sake of her mind and soul. She has started to slowly get back to it, ahead of 2024. But the resultant drop in ranking will mean the 29-year-old Belgian, who was ranked a career-high No. 81 in May, will have a tougher road).
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 138 =========> No. 166 (Marino is another one who almost has to start from scratch, after starting the season at No. 63. She dealt with a number of injuries under the radar this year. And instead of playing the WTA 125s in the US and Mexico, she opted to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games. That’ll be a great experience, but it does no good for a ranking that drops with the loss of her 2022 points from her effort in Guadalajara last year. She has a semifinal in Tampico falling off next week, as well. That will drop her to about No. 185. Almost feels like she’ll be starting over again in 2024 – again).
Stacey Fung (CAN): No. 225 =========> No. 250 (Fung is the third Canadian who is taking a hit on the pro circuit to play the Pan-Am Games, although she likely would still get into the Australian Open qualifying at No. 250).
Marina Stakusic (CAN): No. 297 =========> No. 318 (Having just broken into the top 300 at age 18, Stakusic drops back after losing in the second round of the Saguenay ITF. She was defending her quarterfinal from a year ago).
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 427 =========> No. 592 (Tomljanovic, who missed nearly all of the season, drops way down again after being at a career high No. 23 back in April. She has a protected ranking she can use, but she has played just two matches so far this season Tomljanovic is entered in the Tampico 125 this week).
The dynamic from singles at the WTA Finals applies in doubles, which is why Pegula and Gauff find themselves back in the top spots in the rankings this week.