Written by Claudio Gilardelli, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
As it has been very often headlined, this week Iga Swiatek makes her debut as No. 1, following Ashleigh Barty’s shock retirement.
Compared with other players who have been No. 2 in the last two months (Krejcikova, Sabalenka), Swiatek is really worthy to bear Barty’s legacy. First of all she reaches No.1 after accomplishing the Sunshine Double, a feat which, in women’s tennis, had only been achieved by Steffi Graf (twice, in 1994 and 1996), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Vika Azarenka (2016). Besides, her victory in Miami is her third WTA 1000 in a row and she’s on a 17-match winning streak.
Swiatek won Miami without dropping a set and cruising past her opponents with three bagel sets, one in the final against Naomi Osaka. She has definitely not been overwhelmed by the increased pressure from the media owing to her new status. She also consolidates her lead in the RACE, where she had already overtaken Barty last week. The Australian was the title holder in Indian Wells and she would have dropped 1000 points and gone down to 6980 points. The gap with Swiatek would have shrunk to 269 points only and sooner or later the baton was due to be passed over. Swiatek is the 28th player to secure top spot, and the first Pole ever. Former Polish star Agnieszka Radwaska peaked at a high of No. 2.
|WTA Rank||+/-||Player||Tournaments Played||Points|
|49||-14||Sara Sorribes Tormo||23||1135|
In the top50, we can notice that:
- Ashleigh Barty’s retirement has really had an impact on the top10. We have already given due credit to Iga Swiatek. Barbora Krejcikova moves back to second place, Paula Badosa (+3, No.3) reaches her career best, Maria Sakkari (semi-finalist at Miami in 2021) slips to No.4, Anett Kontaveit (No.6) and Karolina Pliskova (No.7) go up one position. Danielle Collins gains three spots and for the first time in her career joins the top10 at No.8.
- In the top20 Jelena Ostapenko (+1, No.11) is just 170 points short of the top10. There are best rankings for Cori Gauff (+2, No.15) and Jessica Pegula (+8, No.13), who returns in the top20, just like Leylah Fernandez (+3, No.19). Elina Svitolina, who reached the semifinals in Florida last year, drops out of the top20 (-7, n.27) after recently announcing she will take a break from tennis.
- The most significant movers in the top50 are Belinda Bencic (+7, No.21), who edges back close to the top20, after her semi-final in Miami. The great news is that Naomi Osaka is back on track again with her run to the final in Miami and takes a 42-position bound, landing at No.35. Also Anhelina Kalinina (+9, No.42) and Katerina Siniakova (+8, No.45), are back in the top50. Alison Riske (No..43) gains 7 places. However, there is a downtrend for Sara Sorribes Tormo (-14, No.49), who drops the points she earned in Miami last year thanks to her quarterfinal and for Amanda Anisimova (-6, No.47). Both are on the brink and risk losing the top50.
- Below the top50, several players have made consistent progress: Aliaksandra Sasnovich (+9, No.51), Mayar Sherif (+12, No.61), Karolina Muchova (+7, No.67), Anna Kalinskaya (+8, No.76), Marie Bouzkova (+9, No.77), Lauren Davis (+12, No.82), Dalma Galfi (+10, No.97), and Lucia Bronzetti (+17, No.85).
- Ana Konjuh is struggling (-10, No.62) but Anastasija Sevastova (-29, No.114) and Bianca Andreescu (-75, No.119), semi-finalist and finalist respectively in Miami Open 2021 have fallen out of the top 100.
- Beyond the top100 we see remarkable move up by Daria Saville, who climbs to No.129, gaining 120 positions and Linda Fruhvirtova, who breaks into the top 200 at No.188, gaining 91 positions.
NEXT GEN RANKING
For the first time the Ranking dedicated to the players born after 1st January 2002 features Olivia Gadecki, who takes the place of 16-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva. The young Australian debuts at No.9. The top ranks are unchanged: Emma Raducanu is No.1, followed by Cori Gauff and Leylah Fernandez.
Iga Swiatek leads the Race as well and has 2310 points more than the second ranked player, Maria Sakkari. Danielle Collins (No.3) moves up 3 positions and Jessica Pegula (No.9) gains 6. Naomi Osaka (+37, No.11), Belinda Bencic (+23, n.14) and Petra Kvitova (+10, n.20) burst into the top20.
Dominic Stricker cruises past Luca Nardi at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah
Third seed Dominic Stricker cruised past Luca Nardi 4-1 4-1 4-2 in 54 minutes in the fastest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah bouncing back from his defeat in the first match against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday.
Stricker converted four of his six break points and hit 13 winners, including 3 aces.
Stricker came back from 15-40 down in the first game after two double faults from Nardi and broke serve with a return winner on the deciding point to take a 1-0 lead. The world number 94 saved three break-back-back points in the second game from 15-40 down before breaking for the second time in the fifth game to win the first set 4-1.
Stricker broke serve at 30 in the second game of the second set and held serve at love in the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Stricker served it out on his second set point.
Stricker earned an early break in the first game of the third set on the deciding point and held his next service games. Nardi saved the first match point but he hit his backhand into the net on the second match point after the longest rally of the match.
“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe was not my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I am just happy that I did it and now I am going to try my best to recover for the third group match”, said Stricker. Stricker is now 1-1 in Green Group. The Swiss player is aiming to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Next Gen Finals. He is looking to crown a good year after reaching the fourth round at the US Open.
Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title
An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets.
The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him.
“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”
Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court.
Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face.
“Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.
In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward.
“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters.
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”
It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles.
“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.
Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
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Record-Breaking Novak Djokovic Hungry For More Glory
Carlos Alcaraz Searches For Improvement Ahead Of ATP Finals
WTA Yet To Decide On Host For 2024 Tour Finals After Cancun Controversy
WTA Finals Daily Preview: Sabalenka and Swiatek Fight for the No.1 Ranking
WTA Finals & ATP Paris Masters Daily Preview: Djokovic Plays Rune in a Rematch of Last Year’s Final
(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History
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