With almost every top player playing somewhere in the first week of the 2020 tennis season, there was a lot of movement on both the ATP and WTA rankings this week—from Top 20, Top 50 and Top 100 debuts to securing a crucial ranking just in time for the seeds at next week’s Australian Open.
Daniil Medvedev heroics at ATP Cup bump him up from No. 5 to No. 4
He may have fallen just short in his last match against Novak Djokovic, but Medvedev’s four wins at the ATP Cup bumped him back up to his career-high of No. 4, moving him past Dominic Thiem and securing the Russian a Top 4 seed for the Australian Open. He’s now guaranteed not to play any of the Big 3—Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer—until at least the semifinals.
After his 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 loss to Djokovic in Sydney on Saturday, Medvedev was asked how he can close the gap with the Big 3. “I think I’m not that far, but to stay not that far and get even closer, I have to continue to work hard,” he said. “I think I have to be consistent, to have this level of play that I had in the last two sets over months, maybe years. That’s the strength of these guys, that they are always there, always in the semifinals and finals of the Slams, and that’s the most important.”
Several players set new career-highs after their performances at the ATP Cup: Denis Shapovalov scored Top 10 wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev and set a new personal best for the second week in a row, rising from No. 14 to No. 13; Dan Evans scored three wins at the event and rose from No. 42 to No. 33, soaring past his previous career-high of No. 41 from 2017; Casper Ruud got his first two Top 20 wins over John Isner and Fabio Fognini and rose from No. 53 to No. 46, his Top 50 debut; and Dennis Novak—one of Thiem’s longtime best friends - scored a win for Team Austria against Argentina and subsequently made his Top 100 debut, rising from No. 105 to No. 99.
Serena wins Auckland to secure Top 8 seed in Melbourne
Serena battled to her first WTA title as a mom at the ASB Classic in Auckland this past week, a win that pushed her from No. 10 to No. 9 on the new WTA rankings—and with No. 6-ranked Bianca Andreescu withdrawing from the Australian Open with a knee injury, that means Serena will have the No. 8 seed at the Happy Slam, avoiding all other Top 8 players until at least the quarterfinals.
Other notable moves on the WTA rankings included Petra Martic rising from No. 15 to No. 14, a new career-high; Ekaterina Alexandrova rising from No. 34 to No. 26, her Top 30 debut, after winning her first WTA title in Shenzhen; Elena Rybakina rising from No. 36 to No. 30, another Top 30 debut, after reaching the final in Shenzhen; and American Jennifer Brady going from No. 53 to No. 49, her Top 50 debut, after reaching the quarterfinals of Brisbane, beating World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty en route.
Coco Gauff also set a new personal best this week after reaching the second round in Auckland - the 15-year-old, who’ll make her Australian Open debut next week, inched up from No. 67 to No. 66.
Andrey Rublev cracks Top 20 after winning second ATP title in three months
The ATP Cup wasn’t the only ATP event this past week, with Doha, Qatar also on the calendar - and it was Rublev who lifted that trophy, subsequently moving up from No. 23 to No. 18, his Top 20 debut. It was his second ATP title in three months - he won in his hometown of Moscow in October.
Twenty-year-old Frenchman Corentin Moutet, who came through qualifying and made it all the way to the final at the 250-level event, jumped from No. 81 to a new career-high of No. 70 this week.
There were a few notable drops this week, too: with his points from winning the title in Auckland last year falling off, American Tennys Sandgren went from No. 68 to No. 101 after losing first round in Doha; and with her points from reaching the semifinals of Sydney last year falling off, Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich went from No. 69 to No. 99 after losing in the second round of Shenzhen.