With the hangover real after the Sunshine Double, a lot of top players began an early spring break.
Still, Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens, Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys and others took to the courts in Charleston and Monterrey to try to put a few ranking points in the bank before the “official” start of the clay season.
For the Europeans, especially, the two events were near enough to Miami that one more week before going home wasn’t a bad idea.
The events in Lugano, Switzerland and Bogotá, Colombia this week have not been as fortunate.
The big winners were Madison Keys, who won her first Volvo Car Open after seven consecutive trips there, in impressive fashion over Caroline Wozniacki in the final.
And Garbiñe Muguruza, who was defending her Monterrey title, got through in the final against an injured Victoria Azarenka, who retired in the second set.
ON THE UPSWING
Madison Keys (USA): No. 18 —————> No. 14 (Hopefully the big win on the American clay will propel Keys to success on the real stuff in the coming weeks).
Belinda Bencic (SUI): No. 21 —————> No. 20 (For the second time in three weeks, the 22-year-old squeezes into the top 20. She had been outside it since Aug. 8, 2016).
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 31 —————> No. 29 (Back into the top 30, the Latvian is the top seed in Bogota this week. She could get top 25 with the title although we’re a little concerned about what will happen to her serve at 8,500 feet).
Petra Martic (CRO): No. 53 —————> No. 40 (The former No. 31 – earlier this year – had a good week in Charleston).
Maria Sakkari (GRE): No. 50 —————> No. 44
Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 67 —————> No. 60 (A great effort in Monterrey – until she couldn’t really go in the final. It was a costly calf injury – a win over Muguruza would have put her threads away from the top 50).
Jessica Pegula (USA): No. 81 —————> No. 74 (Another career high for the 25-year-old American)
Kaia Kanepi (EST): No. 82 —————> No. 75
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 104 —————> No. 99 (It’s been a long road back from injury for the 31-year-old German, who’s back in the top 100 for the first time in a year. She was down as low as No. 358 just before last year’s French Open).
Karolina Muchova (CZE): No. 109 —————> No. 102 (We’re big fans of this 22-year-old, all-court player from the Czech Republic whose slow, steady progress lands her at another career high this week).
Nicole Gibbs (USA): No. 124 —————> No. 113 (Makes the final on the ITF Circuit in Palm Harbor, Florida).
Danka Kovinic (MNE): No. 175—————> No. 141 (The 24-year-old, whose career high of No. 46 came in 2016, made the semis in Palm Harbor).
Barbora Krejcikova (CZE): No. 225 —————> No. 156 (The No. 2 doubles player in the world wins the ITF in Florida – in singles).
Lauren Davis (USA): No. 184—————> No. 159
ON THE DOWNSWING
Kiki Bertens (NED): No. 6 —————> No. 7 (She didn’t defend her Charleston title, but the collateral damage wasn’t too bad at all).
Julia Goerges (GER): No. 15 —————> No. 18
Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 49 —————> No. 54
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 76 —————> No. 77
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU): No. 69 —————> No. 82
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE): No. 93 —————> No. 101
Bernarda Pera (USA): No. 89 —————> No. 107
Timea Babos (HUN): No. 106 —————> No. 142 (The 25-year-old is far too good to settle for being a doubles specialist (her peak was No. 25 in Sept. 2016). But losing in the first round in Monterrey after reaching the final a year ago is a tough blow).
Fanny Stollar (HUN): No. 126 —————> No. 146
Sachia Vickery (USA): No. 134 —————> No. 148
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 201 —————> No. 204 (The outlook will be brighter when the points from her final at the 25K in Japan go up next week. But she’s also defending 62 points in another 25K in Japan this week).
Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN): No. 389 —————> No. 376 (A career high for the 16-year-old after reaching the QFs of a 25K in Australia two weeks ago).
Gabriela Dabrowski (CAN): No. 401 —————> No. 387 (The doubles star gets back into the top 400 after winning a round at the Florida ITF. Her problem is getting enough opportunities to play singles).
(Screenshot: WTA TV)