CANCÚN, Mexico – Finally, a day late, the WTA Tour season officially ended.
And Iga Swiatek regained the No. 1 ranking in her final match of the season, after rolling over Jessica Pegula in the Monday final in Cancún.
And Storm Hunter (how appropriate is that) became the new No. 1 in the doubles rankings, after making the semifinals with Elise Mertens.
There are two weeks’ worth of rankings updates on this Monday, which means players like Emina Bektas, who won the Tampico WTA 125 two weeks ago, finally gets her due as do the players who did well at the Zhuhai year-end event.
Just so we’re clear, though, there are plenty of WTA 125 and high-level ITFs left before 2023 is done.
ON THE UPSWING
Iga Swiatek (POL): No. 2 =========> No. 1 (With her emphatic win over No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals, and her emphatic win over Jessica Pegula in the finals, Iga Swiatek regains the No. 1 spot in the rankings to finish the 2023 season).
Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA): No. 19 =========> No. 11 (The 27-year-old finishes one off her career high from last June after winning the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai to cap off the season. She missed finishing in the top 10 by just 25 points).
Zheng Qinwen (CHN): No. 18 =========> No. 15 (The Zhuhai finalist moves up to a career high as well, a top-15 finish in a season she began ranked No. 28).
Emma Navarro (USA): No. 42 =========> No. 38 (Navarro hadn’t played in awhile, but appeared at the Midland WTA 125. She made the semis: perhaps she was giving it a go to try to get a seed in Melbourne. She’s about 100 points short, but breaks into the top 40 for the first time, after starting the season at No. 149).
Alycia Parks (USA): No. 54=========> No. 47 (Parks gets herself back in the top 50 to finish off the year, which has had its ups and downs).
Magdalena Frech (POL): No. 79=========> No. 63 (Frech beats Sara Errani in a $100K ITF last week, and moves to a career high at age 25).
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS): No. 115 =========> No. 77 (Kalinskaya has missed a fair bit of time this year, and saw her ranking drop outside the top 100, from a career high of No. 51 a year ago. But she came back in Midland. And she won the first (sort of) WTA title of her career and got herself nicely back up in the rankings, avoiding qualifying in Melbourne).
Emina Bektas (USA): No. 104 =========> No. 82 (Bektas likely would have won the USTA’s Australian Open wild card anyway. But she won’t have to, after coming from Asia, going to Mexico and winning the WTA 125 in Tampico to get her ranking into the top 100 and at a career high, at age 30).
Astra Sharma (AUS): No. 161 =========> No. 120 (This great athlete from Australia, 28, rises with a finals appearance at a $60K in Australia).
Jessika Ponchet (FRA): No. 159 =========> No. 122 (Ponchet, 27, won an $80K ITF in Potiers, France two weeks ago, with three comeback wins through the week – two of them in third-set tiebreaks. She played five tiebreaks, and won all of them … She’s three off her career high).
Jana Fett (CRO): No. 198 =========> No. 150 (Fett broke into the top 100 six years ago, at age 21. But she’s sort of been missing at the top level for awhile now. She followed up a final at the Toronto ITF with another final in Midland, leaping her ranking nearly 50 spots in just two weeks).
Marina Stakusic (CAN): No. 319 =========> No. 258 (Stakusic, still just 18 and not one of the crew of similarly-aged girls who did the Grand Slams in the last couple of years, has gone her own way and is at a career high after winning the Toronto ITF tournament two weeks ago. She should be able to make the Australian Open qualifying with that ranking).
Varvara Lepchenko (USA): No. 342 =========> No. 318 (Lepchenko, now 37, had a career-high ranking of No. 19 back in Oct. 2012. She missed a lot of time with a doping suspension – originally four years, reduced to 21 months by the CAS back in February. Lepchenko’s ranking was at NO. 611 in Oct. 2022. And she didn’t get back onto the computer until July, at No. 1104. So she’s grinding her way back quite successfully. Her effort in Tampico was another jump forward).
Victoria Mboko (CAN): No. 356=========> No. 323 (The 17-year-old Canadian made the semifinal in Toronto two weeks ago, and moves up more than 30 spots in this week’s rankings – seven off her career high from July).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): No. 1 =========> No. 2 (Sabalenka began the season at No. 5, moved to No. 2 after winning her first career Grand Slam title in Australia, and took over the No. 1 ranking at the US Open for seven weeks. Until this week).
Belinda Bencic (SUI): No. 14 =========> No. 17 (Bencic has been MIA since losing in the first round of the San Diego tournament after the US Open. But it turns out she has had a good reason – she’s expecting her first child. Despite that, she’s officially on the BJK Cup team this week and being noncommittal about whether she will play. There’s probably zero chance she’ll play. But that’s how it’s going).
Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA): No. 38 =========> No. 52 (The Italian won the WTA 125 in Tampico a year ago, and didn’t play it this year, so she drops those points as she wraps things up and she looks to the BJK Cup with the Italian team).
Taylor Townsend (USA): No. 66 =========> No. 80 (Townsend skipped being the alternate with Leylah Fernandez in Cancún to play singles and try to make a late-season move. But she withdrew from Tampico after the draw. And she played Midland … only to withdraw before her quarterfinal match. She drops points from a $80K in Tyler Texas, which she won a year ago).
Caty McNally (USA): No. 106 =========> No. 144 (McNally has been out awhile – since Wimbledon. She drops her points from a title in Midland a year ago).
Ana Konjuh (CRO): No. 188 =========> No. 225 (Konjuh, still just 25, has been out since Wimbledon. Which probably means she’s injured again. That’s been the bug, not the feature, of her star-crossed career. She drops her points from a semi and a quarter on the ITF circuit a year ago. And there’s more to come – titles at a $60K in Bratislava next week, another title at a $25K the week after that, and a semifinal at the WTA 125 in Andorra in early December).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 266 =========> No. 273 (No one is too sure what, exactly, Bouchard is doing with her tennis career. But she’s in Seville with the Canadian BJK Cup team this week. Whether she’ll be warming the bench or playing is still up in the air).
Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva (AND): No. 246 =========> No. 303 (The 18-year-old, who left the juniors behind awhile ago after winning the 2020 Australian Open, is sort of treading water in her pro career. She has a WTA 125 in her native Andorra coming up, so let’s see if she can get a bit motivated. Her career high of No. 121 came in Nov. 2022).
FINAL YEAR-END SINGLES RANKINGS
FINAL YEAR-END DOUBLES RANKINGS
Cana-Kiwi Erin Routliffe wraps it up at a career-high No. 11.
The Race for the AO main draw
(Hello, Sara Errani!)