The last WTA event of the year took place in Linz this past week and its champion, Aryna Sabalenka, reached a personal milestone on this week’s year-end WTA rankings: her first year-end Top 10 finish.
Sabalenka, who had risen from No. 12 to No. 11 a few weeks ago after winning Ostrava—the only other event on the WTA calendar since Roland Garros—rose from No. 11 to No. 10 after capturing her second straight title. She ended the 2020 season on a nine-match winning streak.
“This is something amazing,” Sabalenka told press. “I don’t want to say anything, and just cross my fingers so more wins come to me. This is the perfect end to my season, so I can be happy and relaxed for my holidays and pre-season. I’ll keep working to maintain this level next season.”
Sabalenka has been ranked as high as No. 9, but had finished the last two years at No. 11.
The Belarusian’s move back into the Top 10 meant that Serena Williams slipped from No. 10 to No. 11, narrowly missing out on the 17th Top 10 finish of her career. The 23-time Grand Slam champion had been ranked in the No. 8-No. 10 range for over 16 months, including finishing 2019 at No. 10.
Meanwhile, the player Sabalenka beat in the final in Linz, her doubles partner Elise Mertens, rose from No. 21 to No. 20 to just sneak in her third straight year-end Top 20 finish. The Belgian, who’s been ranked as high as as No. 12 in the world, had finished 2018 at No. 13 and 2019 at No. 17.
Higher up on the year-end rankings, Ashleigh Barty finished No. 1 for the second straight year, and also became the only woman this century other than Serena in 2014 and 2015 to hold No. 1 every week in a season—though the rankings were frozen for 20 of those weeks due to COVID-19.
The WTA year-end Top 10 in 2020:
No. 1: Ashleigh Barty
No. 2: Simona Halep
No. 3: Naomi Osaka
No. 4: Sofia Kenin
No. 5: Elina Svitolina
No. 6: Karolina Pliskova
No. 7: Bianca Andreescu
No. 8: Petra Kvitova
No. 9: Kiki Bertens
No. 10: Aryna Sabalenka
The men’s tour isn’t finished yet—the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals are this week—but the last regular ATP event of the year wrapped up in Sofia on Saturday. There, 19-year-old Jannik Sinner came out on top, becoming the youngest Italian man ever to win an ATP title, and the youngest man from anywhere to win an ATP title since an 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won Delray Beach in 2008.
With his maiden ATP triumph in Sofia, Sinner rose from No. 44 to a new career-high of No. 37 this week, jumping over his previous career-high of No. 43, which he set three weeks ago.