With the WTA Tour season down to a few 125K events, and the Next-Gen Finals in Milan last week not awarding any points, here’s a joint rankings report that takes a look at some of the movement from further down the chain.
Canadian tennis had a great week, as both 22-year-old Carol Zhao and 23-year-old Filip Peliwo won the biggest tournaments of their careers.
Zhao spent three years at Stanford, even though she missed a lot of time in that third year as she played pro events virtually full-time between the summer of 2015 and the end of March, 2016.
She finally decided to leave a year early and focus solely on tennis, without the additional rigorous academic commitments.
Successful 2017 season
Last week was a breakthrough, and a validation that was a long time coming.
Save for a couple of weeks in October, Zhao has played nearly every week since July. It finally paid off last week at a $100,000 ITF event in Shenzhen, China, where Zhao won the biggest title of her career.
Eight months ago, Zhao was ranked No. 527.
Today, she is at a career-high No. 150, the No. 3 player in Canada behind Genie Bouchard and Françoise Abanda. And she can head to Australia in January and compete in the qualifying of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
In 2013, Zhao and Ana Konjuh won the junior girls’ doubles title there.
(On Monday, Zhao was able to play a delayed qualifying match at the WTA 125K event in Taipei, as the WTA rules allow for a player to get a 24-hour reprieve if they’re still active in an event the previous week. She lost a 2 1/2-hour, three-set match to American wild card Ingrid Neel)
Long road for two-time junior Slam champ
For Peliwo, the road has been long and winding since he was hands-down the best junior on the planet in 2012.
That was the year countrywoman Bouchard won junior Wimbledon. But Peliwo, who hadn’t done that much at the Grand Slam junior level in his previous junior years, reached the boys’ singles final at all four majors. He lost in Australia (to Luke Saville) and in Paris (to Kimmer Coppejans). But he won both at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Since then, the Vancouver native has made technical changes, coaching changes, suffered injury and illnesses, but has kept at it.
On Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn. at a $75,000 Challenger tournament, Peliwo won his biggest pro title. He talks about it here.
Peliwo came through the qualifying, all the way to the title.
With it came a jump of 84 spots in the rankings, and a debut in the top 200 at No. 199.
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) November 13, 2017
Peliwo, too, can head to Australia to try to qualify. That’s something he hasn’t done since 2014, when he was just 19.
In the meantime, he’s entered in one final Challenger, in Champaign, Illinois this week. He faces former college star-turned-pro Chris Eubanks Tuesday night.
As for the rest of the rankings movers, there are some key goals to try to achieve in these final weeks. It could be a career high, or sponsors’ bonuses. It could also be making the Australian Open qualifying or squeezing to the main draw – or even squeezing into one of the 32 seeded spots in Melbourne.
The rankings as of Dec. 4 will determine entry at the Australian Open. For the qualifying, that deadline is Dec. 18.
ATP Tour Rankings
On the Upswing
Pablo Cuevas (URU): No. 38 ——-> No. 32 (Cuevas hadn’t won a singles match through nine straight tournaments since the French Open before he defeated Karen Khachanov in Paris. He went straight to his home Challenger in Uruguay and beat some solid players to win that title and put himself in position to be seeded in Melbourne.
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ): No. 79 ——-> No. 74
Andreas Seppi (ITA): No. 94 ——-> No. 89
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP): No. 105 ——-> No. 101
Lukas Lacko (SVK): No. 126 ——-> No. 104 (Lacko wins his home Challenger in Slovakia, and puts himself in position for Melbourne)
Elias Ymer (SWE): No. 183 ——-> No. 146
Denis Kudla (USA): No. 207 ——-> No. 177 (Knoxville finalist)
Filip Peliwo (CAN): No. 279——-> No. 195
Stephane Robert (FRA): No. 323 ——-> No. 231
On the Downswing
Julien Benneteau (FRA): No. 52 ——-> No. 57
Hyeon Chung (KOR): No. 54 ——-> No. 59 (he won in Milan, but ended up losing ground because no points were awarded)
Vasek Pospisil (CAN): No. 106 ——-> No. 109
Norbert Gombos (SVK): No. 113 ——-> No. 133
Michael Mmoh (USA): No. 145 ——-> No. 170
Ernests Gulbis (LAT): No. 199 ——-> No. 200
WTA Tour Rankings
On the Upswing
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU): No. 72 ——-> No. 68**
Monica Niculescu (ROU): No. 100 ——-> No. 78
Pauline Parmentier (FRA): No. 91 ——-> No. 81
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE): No. 96 ——-> No. 84
Taylor Townsend (USA): No. 105——-> No. 97 (Townsend earned the Australian Open WC in the US playoff. But she won’t need to use it)
Kaia Kanepi (EST): No. 107 ——-> No. 100
Viktorija Golubic (SUI): No. 128 ——-> No. 116
Belinda Bencic (SUI): No. 165 ——-> No. 120 (A title in Hua Hin for Bencic, who aims for the Oz main draw this week)
Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO): No. 151 ——-> No. 136
Tamara Zidansek (SLO): No. 180 ——-> No. 149
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 221 ——-> No. 150**
Antonia Lottner (GER): No. 201 ——-> No. 156
Olivia Rogowska (AUS): No. 186 ——-> No. 154 (Rogowska earned a main-draw wild card to her home Slam with her efforts at a pair of Australian ITF events)
Sabine Lisicki (GER): No. 268 ——-> No. 217
(** = career high)
On the Downswing
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 81 ——-> No. 83
Francesca Schiavone (ITA): No. 90 ——-> No. 94
Kristie Ahn (USA): No. 106 ——-> No. 112
Bianca Andreescu (CAN): No. 182 ——-> No. 192
Dalma Galfi (HUN): No. 170 ——-> No. 226
Grace Min (USA): No. 213 ——-> No. 254