Her ranking may not have actually moved up, but No. 2 Karolina Pliskova took a giant step towards regaining No. 1 from Ashleigh Barty by winning the new event in Zhengzhou, China this past week.
Having trailed Barty for the top ranking by 376 points a week ago, 6,501 to 6,125, Pliskova’s triumph at the Premier event has taken her to within 86 points of the Australian—she has 6,415 points now.
Pliskova has more titles and match wins than anyone on the women’s tour this year. She won her fourth WTA title of the year in Zhengzhou, having previously won in Brisbane, Rome and Eastbourne, and she now has 49 match wins on the year, having gone into Zhengzhou tied with Barty at 45.
The Czech also has more aces than anyone on the women’s tour this year with 455.
“Every tournament, every week you start from zero,” Pliskova said after her win in Zhengzhou. “This week is now over and next week I don’t play anything, so I’m going to just enjoy a couple days’ rest and just do some things, do some recreation and get ready a little bit more for Wuhan and Beijing.
“I just want to try to play well there this year, because I didn’t the last couple years, actually. Of course I’m going to feel confident, because I’m feeling quite well after playing some good matches this week, but like I said, we all start from zero every week, so nobody remembers what happened yesterday.”
Barty and Pliskova are both defending a significant amount of points over the next two weeks—Barty 405 points, Pliskova 471 points—and neither of them are scheduled to play again until Wuhan next week. So the battle for No. 1 will likely heat up in Beijing the week after Wuhan, if not in Wuhan.
New career-highs for Sakkari, Yastremska and Riske
With a few players dipping down the rankings, three players on the rise this year reached new career-highs: Greece’s Maria Sakkari inched up from No. 28 to No. 27; Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska rose from No. 30 to No. 28; and American Alison Riske, who reached the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career at Wimbledon this year, rose two spots from No. 34 to No. 32.
The last four women standing at this past week’s other two WTA events in Nanchang, China and Hiroshima, Japan also made big moves. Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson—who won Nanchang—soared from No. 78 all the way back up to her career-high of No. 52, while the runner-up—Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan—broke into the Top 50 for the first time in her career, rising from No. 69 to No. 49. And both Nao Hibino and Misaki Doi returned to the Top 100 after their results in Hiroshima. Hibino, who won the title, rose from No. 146 to No. 87; while Doi, the runner-up, rose from No. 107 to No. 83.
Djokovic passes Connors on all-time weeks at No. 1s list
With no ATP events this past week, there weren’t any big moves up or down the new men’s rankings, but 16-time major champion Novak Djokovic hit another milestone, kicking off his 269th career week at No. 1— breaking a tie with Jimmy Connors for fourth-most career weeks at No. 1 in ATP history.
Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl lead the list with 310, 286 and 270, respectively.