The land of opportunity at the new clay-court tournament in Moscow proved a great welcome to the WTA Tour for 17-year-olds Anastasia Potapova and Olga Danilovic.
And of the two feisty characters, it was the 17-year-old lefty from Serbia, Danilovic, who prevailed in a marathon final match to earn her first career WTA Tour title.
Already at a career-high No. 187 going into the week, the lucky loser was playing in her first career WTA Tour main draw.
And she made it count. (Let’s try to keep the hype down to a reasonable level. We should know better by now, right?)
There were no changes in the top 25; as with the men, not many top players even were in action last week). But after that, some nice moves.
Seven of the top 20 will play this week, including a couple of late decisions by Garbiñe Muguruza and Venus Williams in San Jose.
ON THE UPSWING
Serena Williams (USA): No. 27 —————-> No. 26 (Williams slips past Carla Suárez Navarro by 16 points, as both were idle last week).
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR): No. 42 —————-> No. 35 (A great week for the 24-year-old from Belarus, who was the senior member by far of the four Moscow semifinalists.
Qiang Wang (CHN): No. 78—————-> No. 53 (The winner in Nanchang, over a hobbled Saisai Zheng in the final, she flies immediately to San Jose for her next event).
Magda Linette (POL): No. 80 —————-> No. 62 (A semifinalist in Nanchang – and one of the rare non-Chinese players in the draw – she also runs back to North America, to Washington, D.C.)
Tamara Zidansek (SLO): No. 90 —————-> No. 74 (A career high for the 20-year-old, who retired out of the blue with theoretically one game to go in the third set of her semifinal against Potapova in Moscow.).
Saisai Zheng (CHN): No. 112 —————-> No. 85 (Back in the top 100 after retiring in the Nanchang final in tears. She’s due in Washington, D.C. for a first-round match against wild card Katie Swan).
Olga Danilovic (SRB): No. 187 —————-> No. 112 (A career high after her first WTA title in her first main draw. She’ll be one to watch in NY).
Richel Hogenkamp (NED): No. 166—————-> No. 134 (Prague ITF winner)
Anastasia Potapova (RUS): No. 204 —————-> No. 135 (The 17-year-old wild card reaches Moscow final, and a new career high).
Valentyna Ivakhnenko (RUS): No. 199 —————-> No. 167 (Career high for the 25-year-old, who qualied and quartered in Moscow)
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 217 —————-> No. 185 (The former top-40 gains some ground in her true, non-protected ranking with a quarterfinal in Moscow).
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 329 —–> No. 310 (Another step on the road back).
Gail Brodsky (USA): No. 564 —————-> No. 332 (The 27-year-old mother of two goes from the qualifying to the title at the ITF in Ashland, Kentucky).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE): No. 38 —————-> No. 41 (Hsieh has taken herself out of the lineup until at least Cincinnati).
Katerina Siniakova (CZE): No. 37 —————-> No. 51 (Out of the top 50 after losing in the first round in Moscow).
Sara Errani (ITA): No. 72 —————-> No. 77
Shuai Peng (CHN): No. 52 —————-> No. 81 (The 32-year-old, who hasn’t played since Wimbledon, won the Nanchang WTA event a year ago).
Yafan Wang (CHN): No. 71 —————-> No. 93 (Wang was on clay in Europe after Wimbledon, but didn’t play last week and couldn’t defend her 2017 Nanchang semifinal).
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE): No. 92 —————-> No. 103 (The 19-year-old won the Prague Challenger a year ago, but didn’t play it this year).
Nao Hibino (JPN): No. 104—————-> No. 136 (Last year’s Nanchang finalist played an ITF this year, and only made the quarters)
Xinyun Han (CHN): No. 126 —————-> No. 150 (Second-round loser in Nanchang was a semifinalist last year).
Amanda Anisimova (USA): No. 160 —————-> No. 198 (The 16-year-old won an ITF in Sacramento a year ago, so those points drop. But she returned in San Jose for the first time since Miami and qualified, so she should bounce back quickly).