Top 25: Oct. 20

Each month, Ravi Ubha will reveal his latest assessment of the tours in the Top 25. This list is not a reflection of actual ranking points gained or lost, but a combination of each player's current form and past pedigree—along the lines of the Top 25 polls in U.S. college football and basketball. (For the ATP and WTA rankings, click here; for our previous Top 25, click here.)

Tennis has seen two dominant No. 1s this season. The one that continues to play continues to overpower opponents and, unsurprisingly, leads the way in this month’s Top 25.

Will anyone beat Djokovic in the remainder of 2015? Based on his performance in China—not losing a set in both Beijing and Shanghai—it doesn’t look like it. Let’s throw out this question: Who was more dominant at the height of their powers, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal?

Eugenie Bouchard may not have clicked with Sam Sumyk, but Muguruza and the Frenchman have gotten off to a great start. And having reached the final in Wuhan and winning in Beijing, Muguruza is one of the favorites at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Struggling in the first half of 2015, Radwanska was a longshot to make the year-end championships. Her resurgence began at Wimbledon, and titles in Tokyo and Tianjin, coupled with a semifinal showing in Beijing, got her to Singapore with a little room to spare.

Hmm, you think Kerber is tired? She’s played four straight weeks, making at least the quarterfinals in Tokyo, Beijing, Wuhan, and Hong Kong. Her withdrawal from Moscow, then, wasn’t surprising. Only an unexpected twist would see her miss out on Singapore.

The fifth most important tournament on the women’s calendar won’t have its marquee player. But Williams says she needs to “heal” after a tough year, both physically and mentally, so we’ll next see her—presumably—in Oz, not including exhibitions.

The good news for Wawrinka? He won the title in Tokyo. The bad news? Following his semifinal stinker versus Federer at the U.S. Open, he put in a similarly bad outing against Nadal in Shanghai. I think he wanted to impress in those matches so badly that he couldn’t play freely.

Shanghai was a small blotch on an otherwise superb campaign for Federer. But it’s not like he played bad against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. He was superior in just about every statistical category. One of those days. Onto the indoor swing.

Making the U.S. Open final has, predictably, given Vinci renewed vigor. Her growing fan base approves. In her first tournament since New York, the Italian upset Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova on the way to a semifinal showing in Wuhan. Upset artist Bethanie Mattek-Sands then downed Vinci in Beijing.

Nice to have you back, Bacsinszky. It would have been a shame had the Swiss fallen off the map after her brilliant first seven months of the season, and her run to the final in Beijing ensured that won’t happen. Out of the game two years ago, she’s now a Top 10 player.

There’s no doubt about it: The Asian swing had to be a confidence booster for Nadal and his many fans. The Beijing final against Djokovic wasn’t as lopsided as the 6-2, 6-2 score indicated, and Rafa collected three good wins in Shanghai over Ivo Karlovic, Milos Raonic, and Wawrinka.

Tsonga cut the gap to less than 1,000 points in the race for the last spot at the year-end championships. And with Paris still on the way—where he regularly thrives—no one should be ruling him out of London yet. His diving volley against Nadal in Shanghai was one of the shots of the year.


Murray made, for him, a ton of unforced errors against Djokovic in Shanghai. But that’s maybe down to Murray knowing he needed to play brilliant to have a chance in the match: A mental strain. The Davis Cup final probably can’t come soon enough.

Williams made a late push to qualify for Singapore and almost got there by winning in Wuhan. Her title in Li Na’s birthplace shows that, at the age of 35, she’s still a force.

Health woes scuppered Bencic’s bid to land in Singapore after she began her Asian swing by making the final in Tokyo. What a year, though, Bencic had—and after a pretty slow start.

It seems like this hasn’t been a great year for Ferrer. Yet even with that, the Spaniard has one foot in London. Winning in Kuala Lumpur and making the semis in Beijing certainly aided his chances.

It was always going to be a tough task for Pennetta to return to the courts after winning the U.S. Open and being so close to retiring. And while she flopped in Tianjin, reaching the third round in Beijing and exiting to the still dangerous Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is no disgrace. Time to focus on Singapore, if she gets there.

A little rusty after his breakthrough U.S. Open, Anderson ran into tricky veteran Gilles Muller in Tokyo. But he rebounded in Shanghai, notably upsetting Kei Nishikori for a second Top 10 scalp in three tournaments.

Jankovic must love playing in Asia, because all three of her professional titles this year have come in that continent: Guangzhou, Nanchang (a 125) and Hong Kong. Jankovic, as she’s been known to do, outlasted her opponent (in this case Kerber) to win Hong Kong.

Isner got to meet the Austrian president this week in Vienna. Can it spur him to a first title in Europe? He fared well in Asia, though couldn’t overcome Murray after taking the first set in Shanghai.

She was tipped for big things as a teenager but Pavlyuchenkova’s career hasn’t quite hit the heights. The Russian can say, though, that her end of season has been good: Getting to the quarterfinals in Beijing and winning in Linz. She might play a major role in the Fed Cup final.

Halep enters Singapore as the top seed. But her recent performances don’t suggest she’s the favorite heading in. Still, she pulled off one of the biggest wins of her career last year at the year-end championships—against Serena in the round-robin before losing to her in the final—which is bound to count for something.

Paire beat Nishikori at the U.S. Open, where the Japanese was the reigning finalist. Then he ousted him in his backyard. Super impressive. His backhand is top-five, and he remains one of the most watchable players on the circuit.

Tomic made the quarterfinals in Shanghai. And, he took six games off Djokovic in a set. That’s some achievement. It was the second time this season Tomic reached the quarterfinals at a Masters-level or higher tournament this season, a nice boost at the end of the year.

OK, so Berdych had a very quick turnaround from Shenzhen, where he won his first title of the year, to Beijing. That was surely a factor in his early exit. But then he went and got crushed by Murray in Shanghai. “Ivan, can you please reconsider?” he might be saying sometime soon.

Ramos-Vinolas’ forehand is a weapon, no doubt. He put it to good use in one of the upsets of the year, against Federer in Shanghai. That after playing Nick Kyrgios tough in Tokyo. Further, his win over Sam Querrey in China could be called an upset, and he narrowly lost in three to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Progress.

Dropped out: Marin Cilic, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Kristina Mladenovic, Eugenie Bouchard, Feliciano Lopez, Fabio Fognini, Richard Gasquet