More often than not, late-season time is Caroline Wozniacki time.
And she didn’t disappoint in Beijing.
After the unseeded Aryna Sabalenka won Wuhan, Wozniacki lived up to her seeding at the final Premier Mandatory of the WTA Tour season by dismissing unseeded Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia in the final.
It’s the 30th title of Wozniacki’s career. And according to the WTA Tour, it’s the first time in in over seven years that the Dane won a title without at least dropping one set.
Wozniacki went 1-2 through her first two tournaments on the Asian swing, so this is an excellent confidence-booster for her going into the WTA Tour Finals in two weeks.
She solidifies her No. 2 spot in the rankings, too. Wozniacki won the China Open in 2010, but she hadn’t gone past the third round there in five years.
This week, there are three small events in Tianjin, Hong Kong and Linz, with wild card Karolina Pliskova trying to nail down her Singapore spot.
She survived a tough three-setter in the first round against Varvara Lepchenko.
ON THE UPSWING
Naomi Osaka (JPN): No. 6 ————-> No. 4 (Another career high for 2018’s breakout star, as Osaka gets to the Beijing semifinals. She wraps up her Asian swing with a withdrawal from Hong Kong. Back woes, and an evident need to breathe some fresh air after a whirlwind month, mean a two-week break before Singapore will do her a lot more good than playing another tournament in Asia.
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): No. 16 ————-> No. 11 (Another great result for the 20-year-old from Belarus, who finds herself with the top 10 as a makeable mountain to climb early in 2019.
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT): No. 20 ————-> No. 12 (At 28, Sevastova has had a low-key tremendous season. She’s at a career high in singles, and also a career high in doubles (at No. 57).
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP): No. 15 ————-> No. 13 (All never seems quite in Garbiñe land. Still, she’s at least headed in the right direction in the rankings. She’s also celebrating her 25th birthday Monday.
Qiang Wang (CHN): No. 28 ————-> No. 24 (She’s at a career high. But she’s still going. Wang is the No. 6 seed in Hong Kong this week).
Katerina Siniakova (CZE): No. 40 ————-> No. 33 (As she gets ready for a doubles appearance in Singapore, the feisty Czech is at a career high in singles).
Shuai Zhang (CHN): No. 45 ————-> No. 40
Polona Hercog (SLO): No. 86 ————-> No. 77
Madison Brengle (USA): No. 95 ————-> No. 88
Ons Jabeur (TUN): No. 116 ————-> No. 100 (Back in the top 100, and looking for a main-draw spot in Oz).
Katie Boulter (GBR): No. 107————-> No. 101 (The 22-year-old, who starts the season at Hopman Cup, may well not have to qualify in Melbourne as she reaches a career high).
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 142 ————-> No. 121
Rebecca Marino: (CAN): No. 190 ————-> No. 189 (From nowhere in February, she’s now the No. 2 in Canada behind Genie Bouchard).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Petra Kvitova (CZE): No. 4 ————-> No. 7 (Kvitova went just 1-2 in Asia, losing to Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of Beijing. She was a semifinalist a year ago).
Caroline Garcia (FRA): No. 8 ————-> No. 16 (Garcia was last year’s … Sabalenka? Except even better. Her Asian run was a big contributor to her getting into the top five. But no backing it up means she slides down the other side of the slope).
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 13 ————-> No. 18 (Ostapenko made a miraculous recovery from her left wrist injury, and is playing this week in Hong Kong. It’s been a bumpy ride in 2018 – all things being relative, of course).
Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 39 ————-> No. 44
Coco Vandeweghe (USA): No. 49 ————-> No. 54
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL): No. 65 ————-> No. 74
Sorana Cirstea (ROU): No. 61 ————-> No. 80
Andrea Petkovic (GER): No. 75 ————-> No. 82 (And the wild card drew her compatriot, No. 1 seed Julia Goerges, in Linz).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 108 ————-> No. 110 (Down two, and out of Linz this week as she’s “unfit to play”, according to the event).
Christina Mchale (USA): No. 124 ————-> No. 145
Varvara Lepchenko (USA): No. 132 ————-> No. 161 (And a tough draw against Karolina Pliskova in the first round in Tianjin.
Francoise Abanda (CAN): No. 214 ————-> No. 217
Race to Singapore
Three spots officially remain as the season winds down.