WTA RANKINGS UPDATE: Iga Swiatek takes over, Osaka back on track - UBITENNIS
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WTA RANKINGS UPDATE: Iga Swiatek takes over, Osaka back on track

There has been a lot of significant changes in the rankings over recent days.

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

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+/-PlayerTournaments PlayedPoints
1+1Iga Swiatek166711
2+2Barbora Krejcikova254975
3+3Paula Badosa304970
4-1Maria Sakkari184705
50Aryna Sabalenka194657
6+1Anett Kontaveit214511
7+1Karolina Pliskova154197
8+3Danielle Collins173151
90Garbiñe Muguruza193070
100Ons Jabeur192975
11+1Jelena Ostapenko202805
12+1Emma Raducanu212706
13+8Jessica Pegula192485
140Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova122473
15+2Coco Gauff212345
16-1Angelique Kerber152297
17-1Victoria Azarenka162281
180Elena Rybakina242261
19+3Leylah Fernandez252156
20-1Simona Halep182156
21+7Belinda Bencic202151
22+1Veronika Kudermetova232090
23+2Tamara Zidansek211921
24+2Madison Keys191904
25-1Elise Mertens221840
26+1Sorana Cirstea231840
27-7Elina Svitolina221836
28+1Daria Kasatkina221770
29+3Petra Kvitova211690
30+1Camila Giorgi191603
31-1Liudmila Samsonova291547
32+1Marketa Vondrousova201457
33+1Camila Osorio311334
34+2Alizé Cornet261315
35+42Naomi Osaka111296
36+2Sloane Stephens161282
370Jil Teichmann231277
38+2Clara Tauson311249
390Ajla Tomljanovic231231
40+2Viktorija Golubic281211
41+2Shuai Zhang361210
42+9Anhelina Kalinina391208
43+7Alison Riske241201
44+4Shelby Rogers281184
45+8Katerina Siniakova211166
46+1Yulia Putintseva231166
47-6Amanda Anisimova201165
48-3Jasmine Paolini311159
49-14Sara Sorribes Tormo231135
50-4Tereza Martincova311128


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.

Position+/-PlayerYOBWTA Rank
10Emma Raducanu200212
20Cori Gauff200415
30Leylah Fernandez200219
40Clara Tauson200238
50Marta Kostyuk200253
60Qinwen Zheng200272
70Diane Parry200298
80Daria Snigur2002139
9Olivia Gadecki2002167
10-1Elina Avanesyan2002170

RACE

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. 

Position+/-PlayerTournaments Played   Points
10Iga Swiatek63920
2+1Maria Sakkari61610
3+3Danielle Collins41516
4+3Paula Badosa71422
5-1Anett Kontaveit61385
6-1Madison Keys71317
7+1Jelena Ostapenko71156
8+1Simona Halep61096
9+6Jessica Pegula7992
10+1Veronika Kudermetova7952
11+37Naomi Osaka4925
12-2Barbora Krejcikova6895
13-1Elena Rybakina7766
14+23Belinda Bencic6671
15-2Sorana Cirstea8626
16-2Amanda Anisimova6626
17-1Daria Kasatkina7606
180Kaia Kanepi4590
19-2Elise Mertens7576
20+10Petra Kvitova8561

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Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas Determined To Make Grand Slam Dream Reality After Djokovic Defeat

Stefanos Tsitsipas is still determined to achieve his Grand Slam dream after losing the Australian Open final.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@CitiOpen - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas is remaining determined to achieve his Grand Slam dream after he lost in the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic.

 

Playing his second Grand Slam final, Stefanos Tsitsipas was dominated by Novak Djokovic in a 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) defeat with Djokovic claiming his tenth Australian Open title.

The result won’t downplay Tsitsipas’ impressive start to the season as he will now climb up to world number three when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Even though Tsitsipas’ dream of winning a Grand Slam title may not have been realised in Melbourne, the Greek is more determined than before to make it a reality in the future.

Speaking after the match Tsitsipas said he was happy with the two weeks as he looks to win more trophies in the near future, “Look, I’m not thinking about the match anymore,” Tsitsipas said in his press conference.

“I’m just happy that I’m in another Grand Slam final. Of course, I was dreaming about the trophy, lifting that trophy. I even dreamt it last night in my sleep. The desire is really there. I really, really want it badly.

“But just dreaming about it won’t make it happen. You got to act. You got to do something out there. You got to be present even more and do better. Today I felt like there were moments that I was close, but the tiebreak didn’t really show that both ways. Just bad starts. So I’ll just eliminate it, take the good things, move on from there.

It’s a long season. It’s an exhausting season. I got to be physically ready for the difficult matches that I will have to play this year against the best players in the world.”

It’s clear that Tsitsipas wants to move onto the future where he will look to improve in winning the biggest titles on the tour.

However the new world number three also reflected on the past and how this year’s loss feels in comparison to the one in Paris where he lost from two sets down to Djokovic.

Tsitsipas said the one in Paris was more heart-breaking and has learnt from that experience, “Well, Paris was heartbreaking. I was two sets to love up. I wasn’t really thinking that I was two sets to love up. I mean, I was aware of it, but it didn’t occupy too much of my thought process,” the Greek explained.

“Let’s say I did some technical decisions there that were wrong, which I’m pretty sure I’m not going to repeat again in my career. Just pure stubbornness from my side. I can’t see or feel the same again, because that was a different final from what we had today.

“That was disappointing, for sure. A lot of not-such-nice things happened for me that day, losing my grandmother the day of the final, not knowing about it but finding out later.

“There was something in the air that day that made it feel that there was something odd about that day. I still remember it. I don’t want to remember it because it’s not a nice feeling.”

Motivated by his two losses in Grand Slam finals, Tsitsipas will now look to have the desire and consistency to achieve his world number one goal.

Concluding his press conference Tsitsipas said that he’s not lowering his expectations despite recent results, “I want to max out in what I do in my profession. No. 1 is on my mind. It doesn’t come easy, I know that. I got to work harder to make that happen,” Tsitsipas claimed.

“What I can say is being on the tour for a few years now, I get a lot of different experiences, I get a lot of different things that I’m faced with.

“It’s my time to aim for something like this. I don’t see any reason to be lowering my expectations or my goals. I am born a champion. I can feel it in my blood. I can feel it as a competitive kid that I was when I was young. It’s
something that is within me.

“I want to harvest that, make it bloom, make it even stronger and fonder, work hard towards those goals.”

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Australian Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas Play for the Men’s Championship

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Novak Djokovic this week in Melbourne (twitter.com/australianopen)

A year ago, Novak Djokovic experienced quite an embarrassing debacle.  After the unvaccinated Djokovic was initially granted an exemption and allowed to enter Australia, he was later detained, and eventually deported and prevented from competing at this tournament.  His refusal to get vaccinated continues to prevent Novak from competing in North American tournaments, missing Indian Wells, Miami, Canada, Cincinnati, and the US Open last year. 

 

But at the events Djokovic has been allowed to participate in over the past seven months, he has been nearly unstoppable.  Since the beginning of Wimbledon last June, he is now 37-2, with five titles.  Novak comes into this championship match on a 16-match winning streak, with seven of those victories against top 10 opposition.  With a win on Sunday, Djokovic not only ties Rafael Nadal in their ongoing race for history with 22 Major titles, but he also regains the World No.1 ranking, despite all the tennis he’s missed.

However, standing in his way is a hungry and confident Stefanos Tsitsipas.  This is the Greek’s second Major final, and the second time he’s encountered Djokovic in this round of a Slam.  Two years ago in the championship match of Roland Garros, Tsitsipas secured the first two sets, before losing to Novak in five.  If Stefanos can win one more set on Sunday, he’ll not only win his first Major title, he’ll also become the World No.1 for the first time.

Also on Sunday, the women’s doubles champions will be crowned.  Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who have won six Majors as a team, face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who are vying for their first Major as a team. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (4) – 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Djokovic’s excellence in the latter rounds of the Australian Open is rivaled only by Nadal’s excellence at Roland Garros.  Novak is now 19-0 in the semifinals and finals of this tournament, which is quite staggering.  He’s also won his last 27 matches at this event, and his last 40 in Australia in general, a streak that dates back over five years.  While Novak suffered a hamstring injury a week before this fortnight, he has still advanced to this final rather easily, dropping only one set through six matches.

Tsitsipas has now reached the semifinals or better in four of the last five years at the Australian Open, but this is his first time reaching the final.  He enjoys plenty of Greek support at this event, and appears to have some extra swagger in his step during this fortnight.  Stefanos has dropped three sets to this stage, and has been superb at saving break points.  Through six matches, he has saved 44 of 53 break points faced.

Both men feel fully at home on Rod Laver Arena, and have described it as their favorite court.  But this is their first meeting on RLA.  They’ve met plenty of times on other courts though, in a rivalry that’s been thoroughly dominated by Djokovic.  The Serbian leads 10-2, and has claimed their last nine matches.  That includes four matches that took place in 2022, in which Novak won eight of their nine sets.  They played three times within a six-week period this past fall on indoor hard courts, with their closest and best matchup taking place in the semifinals of Bercy, where Djokovic prevailed in a final-set tiebreak.

Djokovic is undeniably a huge favorite to win his 10th Australian Open.  But that common knowledge takes a lot of pressure off Tsitsipas, who was so close to defeating Novak the last time they met in a Slam final.  Djokovic has been rather unbothered by all competition during this tournament, even with an injured hamstring.  Can Stefanos pull off one of the bigger surprises in recent tennis history?  I expect him to challenge Novak on Sunday, but Tsitsipas’ backhand remains a liability. And with Djokovic determined to avenge what he sees as mistreatment a year ago in Australia, a Novak loss would be truly surprising.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Australian Open: ‘Confident’ Elena Rybakina Unfazed By Top Ten Debut

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina insisted that her debut in the top ten doesn’t change anything ahead of the rest of the season.

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Elena Rybakina (marioboc17 - Twitter)

Elena Rybakina has remained unbothered by her upcoming top ten debut and admits her confidence has grown despite her Australian Open final defeat.

 

The Wimbledon champion was close to winning a second Grand Slam title in Melbourne but fell just short after a three set defeat to Aryna Sabalenka.

Rybakina took the opening set with some blistering tennis and had her chances against the big-serving Belarusian in the final set.

However it wasn’t her day as Sabalenka just about held her nerve to secure her first Grand Slam singles title.

Reflecting on the match Rybakina said the turning point was Sabalenka raising her level but admitted it has been a great two weeks, “I think Aryna raise her level in the second set. She played really well, aggressive, a bit less mistakes,” Rybakina told the press conference.

“I should have been also more aggressive in some moments. Yeah, I had some chances, for sure, to turn it around. But, yeah, she played really well today. She was strong mentally, physically. Yeah, overall, as I said, it was a good two weeks for me here.”

It was an impressive run from Rybakina who managed to beat three former Grand Slam champions in the form of world number one Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka to get to the final.

Reflecting on the future Rybakina admitted that this tournament has given her more confidence that Grand Slam finals is where she should be, “Well, if it’s going to be like this, it’s great. For sure, that’s the goal, to be in the second week of all the Grand Slam, to play finals,” Rybakina happily claimed.

“Yeah, I mean, now I have more confidence of course even after this final. Yeah, I just need to work hard, same as I did during pre-season and actually throughout the years, be healthy, and for sure the results are going to come.

“Even I would say I’m trying to not think about expectations and everything. Still after a great pre-season like this I was thinking I should show it on the court. Then, of course, the results are going to be there.

“As I said, first few weeks was not that great like maybe the other years I was starting. But, yeah, I think in the end it’s just confidence to go forward, to keep on working.”

Despite not claiming a second Grand Slam title, it has been a very positive week for Rybakina who will now take her place in the world’s top ten.

The Kazakh will be seen as a big threat to the rest of the tour as now she looks to keep performing well at big tournaments.

However Rybakina’s top ten debut won’t change anything according to the Wimbledon champion, “I don’t think tomorrow I’m going to feel different just because of the ranking now,” Rybakina boldly stated.

“But, I mean, for sure it’s going to be different on the smaller tournaments, I would say. I’m going to be seeded. Maybe in some tournaments I’m not going to play first round. So of course there is some benefits out of this. But for sure I don’t really look for the numbers ranking so much.”

Rybakina will look to continue to climb up the rankings when she competes in Abu Dhabi, which starts on the 5th of February.

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