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Rankings Winners & Losers: Barty closing in on year-end No. 1
Plus: Andy Murray, newly minted Antwerp champion, closes in on Top 100 return.
Published Oct 21, 2019
There were a lot of shake-ups on the WTA rankings this week after a pair of events in Moscow and Luxembourg, as well as the points from last year’s season-ending events— the WTA Finals and WTA Elite Trophy—falling off. One thing that became clear: Ashleigh Barty is closing in on year-end No. 1.
Current No. 1 Barty will go into next week’s Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen with 6,476 points, well clear of her two closest rivals—No. 2 Karolina Pliskova and No. 3 Naomi Osaka—who have 5,315 and 5,246 points, respectively. Even if Barty doesn’t win any of her round robin matches, Pliskova and Osaka will need to at least win the title—and that still depends on other results—to pass her for No. 1.
Barty was asked in Wuhan two weeks ago what year-end No. 1 would mean to her.
“I think it’s a target without being a target,” she said. “We’ve put ourselves in a position where it’s a possibility. I planned my schedule well in advance, so I wasn’t going to change anything to try and chase it, but I’m going to do the best I can in these last events. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s not going to change the way I rest or recover or train and prepare for next year.”
With Elina Svitolina falling from No. 4 to No. 8 after her points from winning last year’s WTA Finals dropped off, several players in the Top 10 moved up a spot without even taking the court last week. Andreescu was one of those players, rising from No. 5 to No. 4 to become the highest-ranked Canadian woman in tennis history. She surpasses Eugenie Bouchard, who peaked at No. 5.
With a good week in Shenzhen, Andreescu could become the highest-ranked Canadian player ever, male or female—that honor currently belongs to Milos Raonic, who got to No. 3 on the ATP rankings.
Also among the notable WTA ranking moves this week: Sofia Kenin rose from No. 15 to a new high of No. 12, just two spots from her Top 10 goal for 2020; Petra Martic rose from No. 17 to No. 15, her Top 15 debut; Donna Vekic rose from No. 21 to No. 20, her Top 20 debut; Karolina Muchova rose from No. 35 to No. 26 after reaching the semifinals of Moscow, her Top 30 debut; and Elena Rybakina moved up from No. 43 to No. 37 after reaching the semifinals of Luxembourg, her Top 40 debut.
After winning her second Premier-level title of the year in Moscow, Belinda Bencic went from No. 10 to her previous career-high of No. 7, which she had first reached in 2016. It’s a remarkable feat given she’d fallen as low as No. 318 in the three and a half years since then after a slew of injuries.
The three men who won ATP titles this past week all made significant jumps up the rankings, most notably Murray, who nearly halved his ranking from No. 243 to No. 127 after winning Antwerp—the 46th ATP title of his illustrious career and his first since returning to the tour from hip surgery.
“It means a lot. The past few years have been extremely difficult,” Murray said after beating fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the final. “Both me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the past couple of years. It’s amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that. I think it was a great match. I didn’t expect to be in this position at all, so I’m very happy.”
Meanwhile, Rublev rose from No. 31 to No. 22 after winning Moscow—his Top 30 debut—and former No. 20 Denis Shapovalov rose from No. 34 to No. 27 after his first ATP title at Stockholm.
There were some notable drops this week, too. Having won Antwerp last year, former Top 20 player Kyle Edmund dipped from No. 55 to No. 75 after falling in qualies this year. On the women’s rankings, Sloane Stephens fell from No. 12 to No. 23 after her points from reaching last year’s WTA Finals final dropped off, and Daria Kasatkina, who won Moscow last year, fell from No. 37 to No. 70 after losing first round this year. Stephens and Kasatkina began the year ranked No. 6 and No. 10, respectively.