WIMBLEDON – Unlike the men, many of the top women DO play Eastbourne, which is a Premier event.
As well, the WTA players face significant fines if they compete in exhibitions during a week in which there is a regular Tour event. So they don’t have options like the Boodles and Hurlingham as the men do.
But it’s tightening up nicely as the top, as Eastbourne champion Karolina Pliskova is less than 500 points behind new No. 1 Ashleigh Barty for the race to the top spot in the rankings.
And, for what it’s worth, Serena Williams returns to the top 10 – at No. 10, by default, with Aryna Sabalenka dropping a spot down to No. 11.
ON THE UPSWING
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE): No. 16================> No. 14 (The French Open finalist, who turned 20 last Friday, jumps to a career high just by winning a match at Eastbourne – her first since that effort in Paris. Vondrousova finds herself with a high seed at Wimbledon despite never having won a match there. In fact, she lost in the first round of the main draw of all three of her grass-court efforts a year ago, and in 2017 as well).
Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 42 ================> No. 40 (It’s a symbolic number, more than anything, for the former No. 1 who turns 30 at the end of this month. But she’s back in the top 40 for the first time since March 2017, and she can do some damage at Wimbledon after making the second round a year ago. She’s in the Kasatkina-Halep section of the draw).
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS): No. 52 ================> No. 45 (The 24-year-old, fairly obscure, jumps into the top 50 and reaches a career high with a quarterfinal effort at Eastbourne. She beat Tomljanovic and Bencic, benefited from Ostapenko’s retirement, and lost quickly to eventual champ Pliskova in the quarters).
Alizé Cornet (FRA): No. 55 ================> No. 51
Ons Jabeur (TUN): No. 62 ================> No. 56
Samantha Stosur (AUS): No. 132 ================> No. 119
Danka Kovinic (MNE): No. 187 ================> No. 162 (The former No. 46 saw her points from winning a $25,000 clay ITF in Sweden two weeks ago come up, and makes a nice jump. She had to quickly transition to grass to play the Wimbledon qualifying last week, losing in the second round to Danielle Lao).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): No. 10 ================> No. 11 (Sabalenka lost in the first round at Wimbledon a year ago. So with a massive points bubble coming up during the American summer hard-court season, it’s a good opportunity to bank some insurance points).
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN): No. 14 ================> No. 19 (The newlywed has never gotten past the round of 16 at Wimbledon (and yet still gets a plum No. 2 Court schedule as the No. 14 seed. She won Eastbourne a year ago over Sabalenka in the final, but lost to Sabalenka in the third round this year – in a third-set tiebreak).
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 35 ================> No. 37 (She gets the tricky Hsieh Su-Wei in the first round of Wimbledon Monday, with her ranking not in its best place and defending semifinalist’s points from a year ago. Ostapenko had a great draw a year ago as the No. 12 seed; she didn’t face a player in the top 30 until she lost to eventual champion Angelique Kerber – then ranked No. 10 – in that semifinal).
Pauline Parmentier (FRA): No. 82 ================> No. 88
Astra Sharma (AUS): No. 85 ================> No. 93
Kirsten Flipkens (BEL): No. 81 ================> No. 103 (The 33-year-old Belgian veteran drops out of the top 100 after losing her opener to Wozniacki at Eastbourne. A year ago, she won a $100,000, 16-player ITF event in SouthSea, with 150 nice ranking points to go with it. Out in the second round a year ago – and for the last four years – Flipkens reached the Wimbledon semis in 2013).
Katie Boulter (GBR): No. 128 ================> No. 142 (A back issue has scuttled her entire grass-court season, which is the highlight part of any Brit’s year).