The first week of the grass-court season, with two Premier events to come in the next two weeks, was an opportunity for a couple of talented grass-court players to shine.
In Nottingham, Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia won the seventh WTA Tour title of her career.
She survived many travails, but ultimately got it done against No. 2 seed Donna Vekic in the final.
In ‘s-Hertogenbosch, home girl and No. 1 seed Kiki Bertens looked like the odds-on favorite to win when she bageled Alison Riske in the first set.
But the American came back, taking a second-set tiebreak and winning 7-5 in the third.
That’s 10 victories in a row for Riske, who won a $100,000 ITF in Surbiton a week ago.
There were no changes in the top 20, as most were resting up for the meat of the grass season.
ON THE UPSWING
Caroline Garcia (FRA): No. 28 =============> No. 23 (It’s been a tough 12 months for the Frenchwoman, so this title has to feel good).
Alison Riske (XXX): No. 61 =============> No. 49 (back into the top 50 after two impressive weeks on the grass).
Jennifer Brady (USA): No. 80 =============> No. 66 (Another solid American performance on the greens as the 24-year-old reaches the Nottingham semifinals).
Magda Linette (POL): No. 96 =============> No. 70 (A win at the ITF in Manchester brings the Polish player closer to her career high of No. 55, reached in February, 2018).
Maria Sharapova (RUS): No. 86 =============> No. 85 (Sharapova is finally back, in Mallorca this week).
Madison Brengle (USA): No. 98 =============> No. 87 (Brengle reached the semis in Manchester).
Astra Sharma (AUS): No. 94 =============> No. 88 (A first-round win – on a retirement – in Nottingham gets the Aussie to a new career high).
Zarina Diyas (KAZ): No. 101 =============> No. 89 (Diyas, the former No. 31, reached the Manchester final and is back in the top 100).
Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS): No. 119 =============> No. 107
Elena Rybakina (KAZ): No. 134 =============> No. 113 (The 19-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, reaches a career high after going from the qualifying to the semifinals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. She began the season at No. 191).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Ons Jabeur (TUN): No. 58 =============> No. 63
Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP): No. 64 =============> No. 70
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL): No. 69 =============> No. 80
Mona Barthel (GER): No. 88 =============> No. 98
Aleksandra Krunic (SRB): No. 66 =============> No. 110 (The tough season continues for the Serb, who was at a career-high No. 39 a year ago. After beating Kirsten Flipkens in the final of ‘s-Hertogenbosch a year ago, she lost in the first round to … Kirsten Flipkens).