The top guns mostly took a break after the US Open.
Although, semifinalist Elina Svitolina did make the trip to Zhengzhou to fulfil her commitment there.
Karolina Pliskova, who also played the new Premier event in Zhengzhou, took the title and with it, qualified for the year-end finals in Shenzhen.
She joins Ashleigh Barty as the first two confirmed players.
Also winning titles this week were Rebecca Peterson of Sweden (newly coached by Thomas Hogstedt) in Nanchang – her first career title – and Nao Hibino in Hiroshima.
Hibino, unseeded and very nearly out at the hands of Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in the very first round, beat fellow unseeded Japanese player Misako Doi in the final.
The two then teamed up to win the doubles title.
Can we also give a shutout to the defunct Quebec City tournament, which was a terrific event in its day? It fell upon hard times and tough scheduling in recent years. QC was due to take place last week, but was cancelled. But it had a significant effect on the rankings this week anyway, as players like Parmentier, Pegula, Marino and Fernandez all saw their rankings drop from results made there a year ago.
There were no changes in the top 25 in the rankings.
ON THE UPSWING
Dayana Yastremska (UKR): No. 30 =========> No. 28 (The 19-year-old is at a new career high).
Alison Riske (USA): No. 34 =========> No. 32 (The newlywed hits a new career best).
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 46 =========> No. 42 (The Aussie had a good week in Zhengzhou).
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA): No. 49 =========> No. 44 (Wins over Garcia and Svitolina in Zhengzhou gives the Frenchwoman’s ranking a boost).
Elena Rybakina (KAZ): No. 69 =========> No. 49 (A finals effort in Nanchang boosts her ranking to a career best, and a debut in the top 50).
Rebecca Peterson (SWE): No. 78 =========> No. 52 (The 24-year-old Swede wins Nanchang – her first career WTA Tour title – and makes a big leap in the rankings).
Misaki Doi (JPN): No. 107 =========> No. 83 (The 28-year-old rises with her finals effort in Hiroshima).
Nao Hibino (JPN): No. 136 =========> No. 87 (At 24, the Japanese player destined to be a perennial outsider from the top 100. But winning a title will do wonders for the ranking – and the confidance).
Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU): No. 125 =========> No. 101 (The 30-year-old Romanian, who reached a career high of No. 20 just over a year ago, makes a move to get straight into Australia with a semifinal effort in Hiroshima. Buzarnescu has won back-to-back matches just once this season, in Charleston against No. 182 Frech and No. 184 Davis. She also did it in Rome when Ostapenko and Goerges both retired, one and two games respectively away from defeat. Buzarnescu was 11-26 overall going into this week, watched her ranking drop 100 spots, won just one match at the Slams – and still has earned over $570,000 this season).
Shuai Peng (CHN): No. 132 =========> No. 109 (The former No. 14, at 33, is still out there grinding and makes a jump with a semifinal effort in Nanchang).
Nina Stojanovic (SRB): No. 134 =========> No. 110 (At 23, Stojanovic reaches a career high after going from the qualifying to the semis in Nanchang).
Patricia Maria Tig (ROU): No. 140 =========> No. 124 (With no ranking upon her return from having her daughter, Tig headed to the wilds of the $15K events in Cancun in April. In just over five months, she’s back in the top 25 and has qualified in Seoul this week).
Samantha Stosur (AUS): No. 139 =========> No. 129 (At 35, Stosur keeps plugging away, and has a wild card into Guangzhou this week. You have to think she wants to earn her way into her home Slam).
Carol Zhao (CAN): No. 424 =========> No. 401 (She has a protected ranking that helps some, but Zhao has a long road ahead as she comes back from a long-term elbow issue).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Amanda Anisimova (USA): No. 26 =========> No. 29 (In the wake of her father’s death, Anisimova did not play in Hiroshima, where she went from the qualifying to the final a year ago. She is scheduled to return to the tour in Wuhan next week).
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE): No. 29 =========> No. 33 (One of the fun players on the WTA Tour gets to play doubles with her sister this week in Osaka. They also played in the Bronx Open before the US Open).
Jessica Pegula (USA): No. 60 =========> No. 78 (Pegula went from the qualifying to the final at the WTA Tour event in Quebec City a year ago).
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI): No. 87 =========> No. 94 (It’s been an injury-marred season for the 30-year-old, who returns in Seoul this week. She has lost her last five first-round matches, going back to Bol, Croatia in June and has played just one match since mid-July – a first-round loss to Caty McNally at the US Open).
Cori Gauff (USA): No. 106 =========> No. 112 (The 15-year-old American likely won’t play for the rest of the season, saving up her three remaining allowed events before her March birthday for early 2020. Which begs the question: will the USTA forego any semblance of democracy and just hand her the Australian Open reciprocal singles wild card?)
Heather Watson (GBR): No. 98 =========> No. 120 (The veteran Brit continues to hover over and under the No. 100 mark. Which can’t be good for her blood pressure. A year ago, she was a semifinalist in Quebec City).
Pauline Parmentier (FRA): No. 82 =========> No. 127 (She began the 2019 season at No. 54. But the 33-year-old drops out of Aussie main-draw contention after dropping her finals points from Quebec City a year ago).
Rebecca Marino (CAN): No. 195 =========> No. 235 (The Canadian, who was on the upswing in her return from a long retirement, has been out since early summerwith plantar fasciitis. She missed all the smaller Canadian events, and the Rogers Cup, and the US Open qualifying and after making the quarters in Quebec City a year ago, she’s out of the top 200. As well, Marino will see 50 points from her title at a $25K ITF in Lubbock, Texas drop off next week, which could put her as low as No. 350. Discouraging, to say the least).
Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN): No. 236 =========> No. 252 (The perils of transitioning to play WTA-level events shows here, as the 17-year-old qualified inHiroshima this week – and served for the match in the first round of the main draw against Nao Hibino. But she lost – and Hibino went on to win the tournament. As a wild card, Fernandez had won a round in Quebec City a year ago, so drops those 30 points. Fernandez ran up against fellow 17-year-old Whitney Osuigwe in the first round of the qualies at the Osaka Premier over the weekend, but lost in three sets).
Françoise Abanda (CAN): No. 351 =========> No. 405 (Another big drop for the former No. 111, who fell out of the top 300 last week and falls out of the top 400 this week. Abanda had made the quarters of the Chicago Challenger, and the second round of the now-defunct Quebec City tournament in 2018. Those points are gone.On the plus side, she only has 10 points to defend the rest of the season, and will start at a $60K in Templeton, Calif. next week and in the qualifying of a similar event in Charleston, SC the week after. But it is going to be an uphill battle to get it back on track, even though she’s only 22. Abanda is going to have to grind in the smaller events, which has never been her strong suit. But there’s some urgency, now).