Coming into 2021, Anett Kontaveit had never been ranked higher than No. 14, and Ons Jabeur had never been higher than No. 31. But both had breakthrough seasons, and they’re now linked together in a few big ways—most notably topping the list of women’s match win leaders for the year with 48 tour-level wins each.

After starting the year 19-13, Kontaveit had a blistering last three months of the season, going 29-4—a stretch that propelled her from No. 30 in mid-August to No. 7 on the year-end WTA rankings. She finished the year with a 48-17 record and four WTA titles in Cleveland, Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca.

Jabeur’s path to 48 wins was steadier—she got her 10th in March, her 20th in May, her 30th in June, her 40th in September and 48th in October. But like Kontaveit she also made a major climb up the WTA rankings in 2021, starting the year at No. 31 and finishing it at No. 10, and going as high as No. 7 in between.

The Estonian and the Tunisian are both the first players from their countries, male OR female, to reach the Top 10 in ATP or WTA rankings history.

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Kontaveit's 29-4 record in the last three months of the season propelled her from No. 30 to No. 7 on the WTA rankings.

Kontaveit's 29-4 record in the last three months of the season propelled her from No. 30 to No. 7 on the WTA rankings.

Rounding out the Top 5 women’s match win leaders are three more players who soared to new heights on the WTA rankings in 2021: Aryna Sabalenka (45-18), Barbora Krejcikova (44-16) and Paula Badosa (43-17).

Sabalenka had never been higher than No. 9 before this year, but in 2021 she rose all the way to No. 2—where she finished the year—after a season that saw her reach her first two Grand Slam semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Krejcikova and Badosa’s career-highs before this year were No. 65 and No. 69, respectively, but they both had breakout seasons, Krejcikova’s highlighted by her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros and Badosa’s highlighted by her first WTA 1000 title at Indian Wells—and they finished the year at No. 5 and No. 8.

Just missing the Top 5 women's match win leaders for 2021 were the world No. 1 and world No. 3: Ashleigh Barty (42-8) and Garbine Muguruza (42-17).