Two smaller International level events gave players further down the rankings list an opportunity to pick off titles last week.
And, especially in Prague, they took full advantage.
Qualifier Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, who never won a junior Slam singles title but did win the US Open junior doubles title in 2014 and got to No. 3 in the world, won in Prague over wild card Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.
And Maria Sakkari of Greece won her first Tour title in Rabat, Morocco over Johanna Konta in the final.
With Sakkari winning in Rabat, and Stefanos Tsitsipas winning in Munich, it was a historic, banner day for Greek tennis.
To say the least!
There were no changes in the top 15, although all those players return to action this week in Madrid. Both Simona Halep and … Angelique Kerber have a shot at dislodging Naomi Osaka at the top of the rankings.
Both would have to win the title. And Osaka would have to not make a deep run.
ON THE UPSWING
Donna Vekic (CRO): No. 25 =========> No. 24 (It’s just one spot, but it doe move the 22-year-old Croat to a career high. Next goal – to get her ranking less than her age).
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 31 =========> No. 29 (The Latvian is back in the top 30, even though she lost her first-round match in Stuttgart two weeks ago, and didn’t play last week. She lost her Madrid second round to Kiki Bertens Monday).
Maria Sakkari (GRE): No. 51 =========> No. 39 (With her first Tour title in hand, Sakkari is still 10 off a career high reached last September. But she’s back on the right track. Unfortunately, she couldn’t use that momentum in Madrid where, after a really quick turnaround, she had to play Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round Sunday and lost, 6-3, 6-3).
Johanna Konta (GBR): No. 47 =========> No. 41 (The Brit had a breakthrough on the clay, with an impressive run to the Rabat final).
Jessica Pegula (USA): No. 78 =========> No. 71 (The 25-year-old American reaches another career high after a second-round effort in Prague).
Karolina Muchova (CZE): No. 106 =========> No. 74 (The wild card in Prague – through the graces of the retiring Lucie Safarova – took it all the way to the final and right into the top 100. She has cut her ranking in half in just four months).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 81=========> No. 78 (As she begins her ninth week off the court, the Canadian moves up three spots).
Jennifer Brady (USA): No. 83 =========> No. 79
Bernarda Pera (USA): No. 105 =========> No. 84 (The American is back in the top 100 after making the Prague semis. it was only the second time, after winning her first round in the 96-draw at Indian Wells, that she had won a main-draw match on tour. Pera went from the qualifying to the third round at the Australian Open in 2018 began the season at No. 69 before dropping to No. 110 two weeks ago).
Jil Teichmann (SUI): No. 146 =========> No. 87 (Teichmann, 21, came out of nowhere to win in Prague and leap into the top 100. She won eight matches, including over Svetlana Kuznetsova and Barbora Strycova. A month ago, she was playing $25Ks in Santa Margherita di Pula).
Zarina Diyas (KAZ): No. 115 =========> No. 98 (The former No. 31 – all the way back in Jan. 2015) squeezes back into the top 100 by winning a $80,000 ITF in Gifu, Japan last week. She didn’t have to beat anyone in the top 150 to do it.
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS): No. 109 =========> No. 101
Whitney Osuigwe (USA): No. 139 =========> No. 124 (The 17-year-old reaches another career high by reaching the final at the Charleston ITF. She has gained 75 spots in the last two weeks on the U.S. Har-Tru circuit).
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 201 =========> No. 193 (Back in the top 200 without doing a thing. She’s scheduled to be back in action in Japan this week).
Catherine Mcnally (USA): No. 205 =========> No. 200 (The 17-year-old American dumps into the top 200 for the first time with a quarterfinal effort in Charlottesville. She ended the 2018 season at … No. 682).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Elise Merten (BEL): No. 18 =========> No. 20
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU): No. 29 =========> No. 31
Camila Giorgi (ITA): No. 30 =========> No. 34
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 43 =========> No. 47
Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS): No. 73 =========> No. 80
Anastasia Potapova (RUS): No. 74 =========> No. 81
Samantha Stosur (AUS): No. 76 =========> No. 83
Vera Lapko (BLR): No. 70 =========> No. 89
Madison Brengle (USA): No. 87 =========> No. 97
Iga Swiatek (POL): No. 95 =========> No. 107 (The 17-year-old drops out of the top 100 despite qualifying and winning a round in Prague. It’s a loss of transition as a year ago, ranked No. 412, she went from the qualifying to the semis at a $80K ITF in Charleston. Anything she does through late July will be a net gain. The next points on her rankings list don’t come until those from an ITF in Prague (42 points) drop off at the end of that month. Swiatek was busy winning the French Open junior doubles, and the Wimbledon singles title, during that period a year ago).
Laura Siegemund (GER): No. 97 =========> No. 111 (The German drops, but she’s already safely into the French Open main draw).
Monica Niculescu (ROU): No. 128 =========> No. 143