After reaching the biggest final of her career in Wuhan, China, American Alison Riske made a major breakthrough on this week’s rankings, soaring from No. 35 to No. 24—her career Top 30 debut.
Riske, who recently reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, had been to eight finals before, but they were all at International events. She took it to a new level at the Premier 5-level event in Wuhan, upsetting No. 8 seed Wang Qiang, No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina and No.5 seed Petra Kvitova en route to the final before falling to No. 9 seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
“I’m super proud of the week I had,” Riske said. “I played some of the top players in the world the last few days, and I think the more I can put myself in those positions and have that success, I think the more I’ll expect out of myself in those moments, too, and know that I can come out on the other end.”
Riske pulled off another career-first in Wuhan: her wins over No. 3-ranked Svitolina and No. 7-ranked Kvitova made this the first time she has ever beaten multiple Top 10 players at the same tournament.
“I’m super excited with the way I’m competing. I feel like I’m seeing things the way I wish I had seen them when I was 18 years old fresh on the tour,” Riske, now 29, said. “I think maturity plays a part in it. I’m just really happy I found it now, if not having ever found it. I can only be excited about that.”
She’s now one of six American women inside the Top 30, alongside No. 9 Serena Williams, No. 12 Sloane Stephens, No. 15 Madison Keys, No. 16 Sofia Kenin and No. 29 Amanda Anisimova.
New career-highs for Sofia Kenin and Petra Martic, too
Riske wasn’t the only player setting a new career-high after a strong week in Wuhan. Kenin, who had risen from No. 20 to No. 17 last week after winning her third WTA title of the year in Guangzhou, inched up one more spot to No. 16 after reaching the third round in Wuhan. And Martic rose from No. 22 to No. 17 after making the quarters of Wuhan, jumping past her previous high of No. 20.
Meanwhile, over in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Alison Van Uytvanck won her second WTA title of the year and rose from No. 61 to No. 44, just seven spots from her career-high of No. 37. And former No. 21 Sorana Cirstea, who finished runner-up at the International-level event, rose from No. 96 to No. 75.
There were a few notable drops on the WTA rankings as well, with Chinese No. 1 Wang Qiang going from No. 16 to No. 20 after falling in the third round of Wuhan, having reached the semifinals last year, and Anett Kontaveit - who reached the final of the Premier 5 event last year—dropping out of the Top 20 from No. 20 to No. 25 after having to miss this year’s tournament due to a viral illness.
Alex de Minaur, Pablo Carreno Busta surge up after winning ATP titles in China
Minaur and Carreno Busta both made big jumps up the rankings after winning ATP titles in in China. De Minaur rose from No. 31 to No. 25 after winning his third title of the year in Zhuhai and is now just one spot off of his career-high of No. 24, while Carreno Busta rose from No. 63 to No. 39 after winning his first title since 2017 in Chengdu. The Spaniard is a former No. 10.
The runner-up in Chengdu, Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, also made a big jump after reaching his second ATP final of the year, going from No. 71 to No. 57 - surging past his previous high of No. 69. Bublik fired 125 aces in his five matches in Chengdu, including 31 against Carreno Busta in the final.
And a little further down the ATP rankings, Mikael Ymer made his Top 100 debut, rising from No. 105 to No. 83 after winning the ATP Challenger event in Orleans, France. The 21-year-old Swede upset No. 39-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals in Orleans for the biggest win of his career.
Novak Djokovic passes Lendl for third-most career weeks at No. 1
Finally, Djokovic will spend his 271st career week at No. 1 this week, passing Ivan Lendl for third-most career weeks at No. 1 in ATP history. The only two men in front of him are longtime rival Roger Federer, who has 310 career weeks at No. 1, and childhood idol Pete Sampras, who has 286.
If Djokovic can hold off current No. 2 Rafael Nadal and hang onto No. 1 through the end of the year, he would have a great chance at catching Sampras - he would pass the American in mid-January.