Rankings Winners And Losers: Novak Djokovic Returns To The Top, Sofia Kenin Breaks New Ground - UBITENNIS
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Rankings Winners And Losers: Novak Djokovic Returns To The Top, Sofia Kenin Breaks New Ground

Ubitennis looks at the biggest movers in the ATP and WTA rankings following the conclusion of the Australian Open.

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2020 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

The Australian Open has come to an end and there has been some noticeable moves in the world rankings by both veterans as well as rising stars of the game. On the other hand some players now face the prospect of battling to regain some footing on the tour following a series of disappointing losses.

 

Here is a breakdown of this week’s top movers and fallers.

Novak back on top

Novak Djokovic has once again returned to the world No.1 spot for the first time since November. Overtaking rival Rafael Nadal in the process. It is his 276th week in the position and he now has a 325-point lead over his nearest rival. Compared to two weeks ago, the same players are in the top five. However, Melbourne finalist Dominic Thiem overtakes Daniil Medvedev into fourth spot.

“Novak has had a faultless start to the season, leading Serbia to victory at the ATP Cup and capturing a record eighth Australian Open crown. He has proven yet again that he is the man to beat and his record in Australia is second to none. Many congratulations to Novak and his team on such impressive start to the year and his deserved return to World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.”ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios has risen six places to 20th following his run to the fourth round of the Australian Open. Where he was knocked out by Nadal. It is the first time the Australian has been inside the top 20 since August 2018. He has been as high as 13th back in 2016.

Tennys Sandgren has achieved the biggest jump in the top 100 after rising 44 places from 100 to 56. The 28-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in what was his joint-best performance ever achieved at a grand slam. He also reached the quarter-final of the same tournament back in 2018. He was knocked out of the tournament by world No.3 Roger Federer.

Sandgren is one of only three players to rise 10 or more places in the top 100. The other two are Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics (67 to 53) and America’s Tommy Paul (80 to 70).

At the other end of the spectrum, Frances Tiafoe has fallen to his lowest position in over a year. Dropping 29 places to 79th in the world. The fall was due to his first round exit at the Australian Open where he was defending quarter-final points from the previous year. He is now the eighth highest ranked ATP player from America.

Tiafoe is one of five players to drop 10 or more places in the top 100:-

The top five fallers:-
No.62 Lucas Pouille FRA – down 38 places (currently injured)
No.79 Frances Tiafoe USA – down 29 places
No.85 Lloyd Harris RSA – down 13 places
No.69 Joao Sousa POR – down 10 places
No.95 Andreas Seppi ITA – down 10 places

Finally, Andrey Rublev is the most high-profile player to achieve a career-best ranking this week. The Russian has risen to 15th in the world as a result of an emphatic start to 2020. After winning titles in Doha and Auckland, he also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. Another player to reach a new best is Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at 28th.

Barty still leads the women, But Kenin is on the chase

As for the stars of the women’s game, Ash Barty is still comfortably in the world No.1 spot. The Australian currently has a lead of more than 2000 points against her nearest rival, which is Simona Halep. Both Barty and Halep reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

“It’s disappointing but it’s been a hell of a summer. If you’d have told me three weeks ago that we would have won a tournament in Adelaide and made the semi-final of the Australian Open, I’d take that every single day of the week.” The world No.1 told reporters last week.

Undoubtedly the biggest riser is newly crowned Melbourne champion Sofia Kenin. The 21-year-old has rocketed up the rankings to seventh in the world. Becoming the youngest American woman to crack the top 10 since Serena Williams back in 1999. Although she has already set her sights on one day claiming the No.1 honor.

“I hope so. I would love to; that’s my dream,” she said.
“I want to strive and get there. But baby steps and hopefully it will happen.”

Two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza is another player to rise up the rankings. The Spaniard has risen 16 spots to world No.16. Making it the first time she has been in the top 20 since May. Coached by Conchita Martinez, Muguruza finished runner-up to Kenin in Melbourne.

Ons Jabeur’s impressive run in the Australian Open he enabled her to rise to a ranking high of 45th. The Tunisian recently became the first Arab woman in history to reach the last eight of a grand slam tournament. Jabeur was the last player Caroline Wozniacki played before retiring from the sport.

As for the fallers, Naomi Osaka is on the verge of exiting the top 10 for the first time since August 2018. After failing to defend her title in Melbourne following a second round loss to Coco Gauff (who is now ranked 51st), she has dropped from fourth to 10th in the world. A big contrast to this time 12 months ago where she became the first Asian player in history to become world No.1 in the sport.

The biggest casualty in the top 100 is Danielle Collins, who has gone from 25th to 50th. The American was defending a heavy amount of points in Australia following her semi-final run in 2019. This year she lost in the second round.

Finally, Venus Williams has fallen a further 11 places to 66th. Her lowest position since 2012.

The WTA top 10

  1. Ashleigh Barty (8367 points)
  2. Simona Halep (6101)
  3. Karolina Pliskova (5290)
  4. Elina Svitolina (4775)
  5. Belinda Bencic (4675)
  6. Bianca Andreescu (4665)
  7. Sofia Kenin (4495)
  8. Kiki Bertens (3965)
  9. Serena Williams (3915)
  10. Naomi Osaka (3626)

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Care How Much Pain He’s In, He Gets The Job Done

Hall of Famer Steve Flink gives his verdict on Rafael Nadal’s epic victory which might result in his withdrawal from Wimbledon!

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Image via https://twitter.com/atptour/

Matches don’t come as dramatic as the one Rafael Nadal played on Wednesday. 

 

The 22-time grand slam champion dealt with an abdominal injury, lost a break advantage in three sets and still managed to win after four hours of pulsating play. Awaiting him in the next round will be Nick Kyrgios if he is fit enough to play. Kyrgios dismissed Cristian Garin in straight sets in his quarter-final match. 

Flink and Ubitennis’ CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta review all the action that took place on day 10

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ATP

Injured Rafael Nadal Ousts Fritz In Wimbledon Thriller

The world No.4 is through to the semi-finals but there are new doubts over his current health.

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Rafael Nadal has kept his chances of achieving a calendar slam alive by defeating American Taylor Fritz in a dramatic quarter-final match at Wimbledon where he struggled with injury. 

 

The second seed took a medical time out during the second set but continued to battle to a sensational 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4), win over Fritz. Two days ago Nadal was seen wearing tape on his abdomen but refused to go into details when asked by reporters. Although it was clear that this issue is ongoing with the Spaniard crouching over a couple of times after serving in pain. 

“The body is generally fine. Of course, in the abdominal area, something is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently,” said Nadal. “I was thinking during a lot of moments that I would not be able to finish the match but the energy (of Center Court) was something else.”

In the roller-coaster encounter, 19 breaks of serves occurred throughout the marathon match. During the gut-busting 260-minute showdown Nadal saw plenty of chances come and go. In each of the first two sets, he had a break advantage before losing them. He also failed to maintain a break advantage in the decider before coming through in the tiebreak. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top with the help of 5 aces and 55 winners. 

“I enjoy playing these kinds of matches in front of you guys (the crowd),” the Spaniard continued. 
“It has been a tough afternoon against a great player. All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great the whole season.’
“From my side, it was not an easy match and I am happy to be in the semifinal.”

The triumph is a bitter pill for Fritz to swallow who was bidding to become the youngest American man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since 2005. Until now he had been on an eight-match winning streak.

As for Nadal, he is through to his eighth Wimbledon semi-final and 38th at a major event. He is now 8-0 when it comes to playing quarter-final matches at the tournament.

Amid concerns over the abdomen, Nadal now has only two days to recover in time for his blockbuster showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who came through his match in straight sets against Cristian Garin. Nadal leads their head-to-head 6-3 and has won their two previous meetings at SW19.  

“I hope to be ready to play it,” he said of the semi-final.
“TNick is a great player on all surfaces, especially on the grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a great challenge. I need to be one hundred percent.”

At the age of 36 Nadal is seeking to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.

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“I Thought The Ship Had Sailed’ – Nick Kyrgios Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Semis

The 27-year-old reacts to achieving a new milestone in his career.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) - Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios has achieved his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. 

 

Kyrgios, who was playing in the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 2014, rallied to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5(5) win over his Chilean rival. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last four of the men’s draw since Lleyton Hewitt did so back in 2005.  


”I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. He’s a hell of a player,” Kyrgios said afterward. “He’s obviously very confident. Hell of a tournament for him to make the quarter-finals. I got lucky on a couple of break points here and there. It could have been him standing here (giving the winner’s interview).”

In what was a largely controlled match from Kyrgios, he produced a total of 17 aces alongside 35 winners against 29 unforced errors. There were the occasional outbursts and criticism of the lines officials but it was by nowhere as controversial as his previous encounters against Stefanos Tsitspas in the third round and Paul Jubb in the first.

The breakthrough comes during what has been a turbulent career. Kyrgios has been a player involved in many controversies and was at one stage issued with a suspended ban from the Tour due to unsportsmanlike conduct. However, his talent was never doubted but many were unsure if he could be consistent enough to have a deep run at a major event. He once was at a pub until 4 am on the same day he was due to play Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

“It was an amazing atmosphere out here (on court one). I never thought I will be in the semifinal of a grand slam. I thought my ship had sailed.” He admits. 
“I didn’t go about things earlier in my career great and I may have wasted (time).’
‘I’m really proud of the way I’ve come back out here with my team and with that performance.”

As one of the few top 100 players who travel without a coach, Kyrgios paid tribute to those around him. 

“I don’t have a coach I would never put that burden on someone,” he jokes.
“Each and every one of my team plays an important role. I feel like nobody knows my tennis better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven and to be in the semi-final of a slam I am pretty happy.”  

Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon semi-finalist since 2008.

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