WTA Rankings: Belinda Bencic is back in the top 15, Kudermetova and Osorio plunge - UBITENNIS
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WTA Rankings: Belinda Bencic is back in the top 15, Kudermetova and Osorio plunge

The two 2021 title holders in Charleston and Bogota lose ground. Belinda Bencic gains 8 positions. Tatjana Maria makes great progress and once again approaches the top 100, with a 123 position-bound.

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by Claudio Girardelli, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

 

Last week the two tournaments where players could battle were the Credit One Charleston Open (WTA 500) and Colsanitas presentado por Zurich in Bogota (wta 250).

In 2021 Charleston was won by Veronika Kudermetova and Bogota by Camila Osorio. The runner-ups were Danka Kovinic and Harmony Tan respectively. Neither defending champion managed to repeat success. Veronika Kudermetova withdrew at the last moment due to illness and unfortunately dropped 415 points. That’s a pity, as she had been getting closer and closer, week after week, to the top 20. Camila Osorio was surprisingly ousted in the semifinals by local hero Laura Pigossi, who, after qualifying, had already knocked out the 2021 runner up Harmony Tan in the first round. The title was won by another qualifier, former No. 46, Tatjana Maria. 2000 miles northward, on the green clay of Charleston, Belinda Bencic captured her sixth title, returning to victory after her gold medal in Tokyo 2020. She beat Ons Jabeur in an entertaining match. The Tunisian, though disappointed with missing her chance to obtain a second career title, consolidated her top10 standing.

WTA Rank+/-PlayerTournaments PlayedPoints
10Iga Swiatek166711
20Barbora Krejcikova254975
30Paula Badosa294885
4+1Aryna Sabalenka204711
5-1Maria Sakkari184705
60Anett Kontaveit214511
70Karolina Pliskova164252
80Danielle Collins173151
9+1Ons Jabeur193095
10-1Garbiñe Muguruza183070
110Jelena Ostapenko202805
120Emma Raducanu202698
13+8Belinda Bencic202561
14-1Jessica Pegula202510
15-1Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova122473
16-1Coco Gauff202300
17-1Angelique Kerber152297
18-1Victoria Azarenka162281
19-1Elena Rybakina232261
200Simona Halep182156
21-2Leylah Fernandez252151
22+2Madison Keys191958
23+2Elise Mertens211840
24+2Sorana Cirstea231840
25+2Elina Svitolina221836
26+2Daria Kasatkina221770
27-4Tamara Zidansek201756
28+1Petra Kvitova211690
29-7Veronika Kudermetova221675
300Camila Giorgi191603
310Liudmila Samsonova271532
320Marketa Vondrousova201457
33+14Amanda Anisimova201320
340Alizé Cornet261315
350Naomi Osaka111296
36+6Anhelina Kalinina391278
370Jil Teichmann221269
380Clara Tauson301249
39+1Viktorija Golubic281211
40+14Ekaterina Alexandrova221211
410Shuai Zhang361210
42-3Ajla Tomljanovic231206
430Alison Riske251201
44-8Sloane Stephens161183
450Katerina Siniakova211166
46-2Shelby Rogers281164
47-14Camila Osorio311164
480Jasmine Paolini311159
490Sara Sorribes Tormo221135
500Tereza Martincova301128

In the top50 we can notice that:

  • in the top10, Aryna Sabalenka gains one position and overtakes Maria Sakkari. As she had no points to drop, in spite of losing in the third round to Anisimova in Charleston, where she was the top seed, the 55 points she earned allowed her to reclaim No.4 . Ons Jabeur, thanks to her final, overtakes Muguruza and moves up to No.9.
  • Belinda Bencic (+8, No.13) storms back into the top20. Leylah Fernandez (-2, No.21) drops out: although she was due to drop only 30 points, she needed to reach the second round at Charleston to remain ahead of Simona Halep (No.20).
  • Having a glance at the top50 Veronika Kudermetova (-7, No.29) and Camila Osorio (-14, No.47) plummet. Also Sloane Stephens (-8, No.44) and Yulia Putintseva (-6, No.52) lost ground. Amanda Anisimova (+14, No.33) and Ekaterina Alexandrova (+14, No.40) are on the rise, just like Anhelina Kalinina (+6, No.36), who ups her career best.

Below the top50, Magda Linette (+6, n.58), Dayana Yastremska (+9, No.93) and Kamilla Rakhimova (+15, No.96) move up nicely. Danka Kovinic (-33, No.98) and Harmony Tan (-17, No.107) see their ranking slump.

Beyond the top100, outstanding success for Tatjana Maria (+123, No.114), Laura Pigossi (+86, No.126) and Coco Vandeweghe (+40, n.128). Elina Avanesyan (+24, No.124) and Linda Fruhvirtova (+18, No.170) also gained positions.

NEXT GEN RANKING

In Next Gen Ranking, dedicated to the players born after 1st January 2002, the first 8 positions are unchanged. Elina Avanesyan and Olivia Gadecki swap 9th and 10th place.

Position+/-PlayerYOBWTA Rank
10Emma Raducanu200212
20Cori Gauff200416
30Leylah Fernandez200221
40Clara Tauson200238
50Marta Kostyuk200253
60Qinwen Zheng200271
70Diane Parry200299
80Daria Snigur2002144
9+1Elina Avanesyan2002146
10-1Olivia Gadecki2002168

RACE

Belinda Bencic (+6, No.8) and Ons Jabeur (+11, No.14) are the achievers of the week. Petra Kvitova falls out of the top20 (-3, No.23).

Position+/-PlayerTournaments PlayedPoints
10Iga Swiatek63920
20Maria Sakkari61610
3+1Paula Badosa81522
4-1Danielle Collins41516
50Anett Kontaveit61385
60Madison Keys81372
70Jelena Ostapenko71156
8+6Belinda Bencic71141
9-1Simona Halep61096
10-1Jessica Pegula81047
11-1Veronika Kudermetova7952
12-1Naomi Osaka4925
13-1Barbora Krejcikova6895
14+11Ons Jabeur7825
15+1Amanda Anisimova7811
16-3Elena Rybakina8767
17+1Kaia Kanepi5645
18-3Sorana Cirstea8626
19-2Daria Kasatkina7606
20-1Elise Mertens7576

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Australian Open: Facing Tsitsipas For World No. 1 Spot May Be Different for Novak Djokovic

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

It probably was a good thing that Novak Djokovic wasn’t facing a top opponent in the Australian Open semifinals. Certainly not one the caliber of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

Of course, Tommy Paul did his best. He just isn’t a top ten caliber player.

The American could rally with Djokovic, but when it came time to win the point or game, he  usually was nowhere to be found on the Rod Laver court.

DJOKOVIC WILL NEED TO BE BETTER

The fact that Tsitsipas is in contention for the No. 1 ranking in men’s tennis is enough to ensure that Paul isn’t quite in the league with the Greek superstar.

Djokovic will need to be better than he was against Paul when he steps onto the court to face Tsitsipas on Sunday night in the Australian Open singles final.

There was Djokovic blundering his way through a one-sided 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over Paul. The scoreline should have been closer to 3-1-2. But Novak appeared to have all kinds of physical ailments — legs, knees, bandaged hamstring. Or just plain conditioning and breathing hard. You name it.

NIGHT-TIME DUTY ONCE AGAIN

It was just night time in Melbourne. You wonder what might have happened if Novak had been assigned some daytime duty like everyone else in the tournament. Say, like Tsitsipas had been assigned for his closer than the scores reflex in the Greek’s 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over Karen Khachanov in Friday’s other semifinal.

Tsitsipas is a real threat to claim the world’s top ranking on Sunday night with a victory over the legend from Serbia. Of course, in the 2021 French Open final, Tsitipsas won the first two sets against Djokovic.

It’s possible. Tsitsipas could come through this time.

A SHADOW OF THE OLD NOVAK

Novak was only a shadow of the old Djokovic Friday night. And that was against a player who may never earn a berth in another Grand Slam semifinal.

Of course, Djokovic wasn’t quite as out of it as Rafa Nadal was in the second-round blitzing by Mackenzie McDonald. But Nadal was nursing a hip injury. He may be a different player in Paris in four months.

Djokovic still has all of the big shots and serves he has displayed for much of the last two decades. He just didn’t seem to know where all of those weapons were headed in the semifinals.

IS NOVAK’S BAG OF TRICKS EMPTY?

Of course, if Novak pulls a solid performance out of his bag of tricks and denies Tsitsipas the world’s top ranking, Djokovic likely would stand in Nadal’s path in Paris to a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

The task won’t be easy. First, Novak has to take care of business on Sunday night. But with a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title up for grabs, Djokovic may actually look like himself. 

As Novak says, he wants to be known as the best player in the world.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Coach Of Elena Rybakina Dismisses Allegations Of Poor Behavior At Australian Open

Stefano Vukov explains why he believes his actions were appropriate during Rybakina’s semi-final win over Aryna Sabalenka.

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Image via AUS Open twitter

The coach of Elena Rybakina has denied accusations that he was berating his player during her clash with Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open by saying he was just doing his job. 

 

Stefano Vukov was seen multiple times during Rybakina’s semi-final match being highly animated and making a series of critical gestures towards his player when she produced mistakes. The display prompted criticism on social media with former player Laura Robson saying on Eurosport ‘I don’t know how she (Rybakina) copes. He seems to be so negative on the side.”

Croatian-born Vukov has been working with the reigning Wimbledon champion since 2019 and previously coached Anhelina Kalinina. He was briefly a player on the Futures and Challenger Tour before going to America to study. Growing up his family left Croatia when he was a child due to the war and he spent roughly 15 years living in Italy.

“It’s easy to just take clips and then make something controversial. This is part of our sport, it’s normal,” Vukov told Fox Sports Australia when quizzed about his behaviour. 
“There’s 10,000 people out there, to get the attention of the player is definitely not easy and people don’t understand that. I have to scream out something if she’s off track.
“People can interpret that how they want but at the end of the day we’re just doing our job. Coaching is now allowed and she’s using it in the best possible way.”

This year is the first time that coaching is allowed during matches at the Australian Open but it is only allowed if players and coaches are on the same side of the court and there is no hindrance towards their opponent.  

Continuing to hit back at the criticism, Rybakina’s mentor says during the match there are key moments where he needs to remind her of certain tactics. Dismissing suggestions from some that his approach is heavy-handed in any way. 

“I think with all the emotions, sometimes the player doesn’t understand which situation of the match they are, which is absolutely normal,” he said. 
“You know, you’re flowing, you’re into a rhythm, which has happened also yesterday, for example, against Azarenka. A set, 3-1 up, two breakpoints. She stopped playing, Elena, for a couple of games, for example, instead of going for the point a little bit more.
“There are moments we try to remind her, Hey, this is the moment to push. This is the moment to defend.
“It’s normal. There are moments of the match the player doesn’t remember, for example, or in a pressure point, which side to defend more, where to serve more.
“We are there to remind them. So obviously I think that coaching is very important. I think that the player, if the player wants to listen, obviously, they should use it as much as possible, because there is some matches that a few points make the difference. Look at the beginning of yesterday. 3-2 down, two bad choices. That’s it. That’s it. She could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up.
“I don’t know, something like this. Not to be negative, but it’s just our job, right? That’s what we are there for.”

In a previous interview with Tennis Majors last year, Vukov said he and Rybakina clicked together due to ‘his energy against her calmness.’ He also described the world No.25 as  ‘a hardworking perfectionist, which sometimes works against her because sometimes she gets frustrated when things are not perfect.’

Rybakina will play Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open final on Saturday. As a result of her run in Melbourne, she will crack the top 10 next week for the first time regardless of how she performs in the final. 

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Iga Swiatek leads a star-studded line-up in Doha and Dubai

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Iga Swiatek leads the line-up at the WTA 500 Total Energies in Doha, which features nine of the top 10 players in the WTA Ranking. Swiatek won two Grand Slam titles at the Roland Garros and at the US Open, four WTA 1000 titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome and two WTA 500 titles in Stuttgart and San Diego. Swiatek also won the Roland Garros title in 2020. 

 

At the start of the 2023 season Swiatek beat Yulia Putintseva, Belinda Bencic and Martina Trevisan on the way to the semifinals at the United Cup where she lost to Jessica Pegula. Swiatek lost to eventual finalist Elena Rybakina in the fourth round at the 2023 Australian Open.

The line-up of the Doha also features 2022 Wimbledon and US Open finalist Ons Jabeur, three-time Australian Open quarter finalist Jessica Pegula, 2022 WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia, 2020 Doha champion and this year’s Australian Open finalist Aryna Sabalenka complete the top 5 in Doha. 

Jabeur became the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final when she advanced to final at Wimbledon, where she finished runner-up to Elena Rybakina. She is the highest ranked African player in history. 

The top 10 line-up is rounded out by 2022 Roland Garros finalist Coco Gauff, 2022 Roland Garros semifinalist Daria Kasatkina, Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and 2022 Roland Garros quarter finalist Veronika Kudemertova. Jelena Ostapenko, winner at 2017 Roland Garros, and Petra Kvitova, two-time Wimbledon champion and winner of two editions of the Doha tournament in 2018 and 2021, 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys, 2021 Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa and Brazlian top player Beatriz Hadda Maia, winner in Nottingham and Birmingham in 2022, are also signed up for this year’s edition from 13 to 18 February. 

 “It’s a great privilege to have almost all the top players confirmed for the Qatar Total Energies Open once again. Their desire to be a part of this tournament is a further confirmation of the reputation it has garnered over the years, the recognition of the organization and the maximum attention to detail everyone involved in the tournament has always put into it”, said Doha Tournament Director Saad Ali Mohannadi. 

Jabeur, Kasatkina, Kudemertova, Bencic and Ostapenko will also headline the line-up at the WTA 500 Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, which makes its return to the calendar after its debut edition in 2021. The Abu Dhabi tournament Is scheduled from 6 to 12 February 2023. 

World number 1 Iga Swiatek and defending champion Jelena Ostapenko will lead the line up at the WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships from 19 to 25 February. 

The 56-player main draw includes all of the current top 10 players and 18 of the top 20 players in the WTA Ranking. Swiatek will be joined by Jabeur, Pegula and Garcia. 

The Dubai line-up features reigning Wimbledon champion and this year’s Australian Open Elena Rybakina, 2021 Roland Garros and US Open semifinalist Maria Sakkari, Australian Open semifinalist Victoria Azarenka, 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

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