BEVERLY HILLS, February 23, (THEWILL) – There has been movement in the rankings of female tennis professionals especially those who had a strong showing with remarkable performances and great results in the recently concluded first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in Melbourne Park, Victoria.
Monday’s latest rankings show that Naomi Osaka, who took home the Australian Open title as her fourth career Grand Slam championship, moved to number two in the rankings, overtaking Romanian Simona Halep. Osaka now trails only Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) World number one Ashleigh Barty, who extended her stay at the top to 64 weeks in total with 57 consecutive weeks.
There was also movement for American tennis icon Serena Williams who climbed into the WTA Top 10 again after falling out of that range in the year-end rankings of 2020. Williams moved up to number seven from her previous position of eleven following from her semifinal run at the Open Down Under
Another American had a more significant jump in the latest rankings. Jennifer Brady, whose surprise journey in Melbourne saw her reach the Australian Open final which she then lost against Osaka, jumped 11 spots in the rankings to attain a career-high number 13. She, therefore, becomes the third ranked American behind only Williams and Sofia Kenin in the WTA.
On the sidelines of the Australian Open was another WTA 250 tournament, the Phillip Island Trophy, which featured some prominent seeded players. It was particularly rewarding, in terms of ranking, for Russian Daria Sergeyevna Kasatkina. After her second-round exit at the Australian Open, she maximized her stay in Melbourne by competing and winning the title.
The tournament featured a 56-player draw staged during the second week of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. The unseeded Kasatkina defeated four seeds en route to winning the title, including wins over fellow Russian and number 7 seed Anasatsia Pavlyuchenkova (in the round of 16), number four seed Petra Martic (quarter-final) and number eight seed Danielle Collins (semi-final).
Winning the title gave Kasatkina a high jump in the latest figures, pushing her 18 spots up the rankings, from number 75 to 57.
Tennis players from 31 different nations and regions were featured in the ranking with the United States leading with 18 players. The Czech Republic (9), Russia (8) and Romania (5) follow in that order. The average age of this week’s Top 100 is 26.36 years old with Venus Williams (40 years, 250 days, at number 76) being the oldest and Coco Gauff (16 years, 346 days, at number 52) the youngest.
Other notable rankings movements
Jessica Pegula (USA), +18 (No.61 to 43)
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE), +21 (No.71 to 50)
Kaja Juvan (SVN), +13 (No.104 to 91)
Mayar Sherif (EGY), +17 (No.131 to 114)
Rebecca Marino (CAN), +103 (No.317 to 214)
Daria Gavrilova (AUS), +77 (387 to 310)
The 103-place jump for Marino is eye-popping. The Canadian had previously reached a career-high ranking of 38 in July, 2011 after she had been named Female Player of the Year by Tennis Canada for two consecutive years, in 2010 and 2011, but by 2012, she retired from tennis, citing depression after battling abuse on social media.
She started a comeback in 2018, which was anything but smooth-sailing. It began with a delay when she was late to re-enter the WTA’s anti-doping program, pushing her return from late 2018 to early 2019. But her return was an emphatic one, with a win at a $15K tournament where she didn’t drop a set. She repeated the feat at her next tournament, then won a third in a row.
Eight years after her last Grand Slam, she was back at the centre stage of tennis and beginning to make progress up the standings again as these latest rankings show.