WTA Rankings Report – Sept. 23, 2019

If it feels like the Laver Cup kind of sucked up all the tennis oxygen this past weekend, there was a whole lot else going on in that part of tennis that … you know … hands out ranking points and such.

Notably, Naomi Osaka returned to the city of her birth, having shed coach Jermaine Jenkins as her father Léonard Françoise took the reins.

And she won the tournament.

In Guangzhou, Sofia Kenin fought off wild card Samantha Stosur in a great effort for the American, and an encouraging one for the 35-year-old Aussie.

And finally, in Seoul, Korea, Karolina Muchova won her first career WTA Tour title with a 6-1, 6-1 mashing of a player who won her first title in the Bronx the week before the US Open: Magda Linette.

There were no moves in the top 10. But most of them (other than Serena and Andreescu) will be in action in Wuhan this week. 

ON THE UPSWING

Angelique Kerber (GER): No. 15 ============> No. 12 (Kerber makes a jump in a tight section by making the Osaka semifinals)

Madison Keys (USA): No. 16 ============> No. 13 (Keys retired in the quarterfinals, but still jumps three spots – before pulling out of Wuhan with the foot injury).

Sofia Kenin (USA): No. 20 ============> No. 17 (A career high for the 20-year-old, who picked up her THIRD title of the season in Guangzhou).

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS): No. 41 ============> No. 36 (The 28-year-old reaches the Osaka final in her first tournament with coach Sam Sumyk).

Karolina Muchova (CZE): No. 45 ============> No. 37 (It’s been a breakthrough season for the 23-year-old, who can certainly aspire to a seeding in Australia because she has just 10 points to defend the rest of the way).

report
Muchova wins her first career title in Seoul.

Magda Linette (POL): No. 48 ============> No. 42 (The 27-year-old hits another high, after the Seoul final).

Yafan Wang (CHN): No. 58 ============> No. 48 (Seoul semis – and a new career high as she jumps into the top 50 for the first time at age 25).

Anna Blinkova (SUI): No. 76 ============> No. 66 (Career best for the 20-year-old Guangzhou semifinalist).

Samantha Stosur (AUS): No. 129 ============> No. 92 (Getting back into the top 100 has to feel good, after a great effort to reach the Guangzhou final as a wild card).

The 35-year-old Aussie is back in the top 100. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Nina Stojanovic (SRB): No. 110 ============> No. 98 (Quietly, the 23-year-old Serb has jumped into the top 100 after going 10-2 in three events in China this month. She finished 2018 ranked No. 244).

Nicole Gibbs (USA): No. 137 ============> No. 121

Varvara Gracheva (RUS): No. 176 ============> No. 144 (Another teenager hits the top 150 as the Russian wins an ITF in St-Malo. At the end of 2018 she was No. 447).

Marta Kostyuk (UKR): No. 215 ============> No. 182 (Still just 17, the prospect from Ukraine dropped out of the top 200, but is on her way back after a two-month absence, with a final in St-Malo).

ON THE DOWNSWING

Qiang Wang (CHN): No. 12 ============> No. 16 (The 2018 Guangzhou champion lost in the first round this year. Coming up: 350 points for her semifinal in Wuhan, 390 for her semi in Beijing and 180 for her Hong Kong final – where she can’t even play this year because of the cancellation. She’ll face a more packed field in Tianjin. Wang also made the Zhuhai final. That’s 1560 more points to defend – she has 2,668 total right now).

report

Victoria Azarenka (BLR): No. 43 ============> No. 47 (A tough first round against Vekic in Wuhan – but she pulls out with a shoulder issue).

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 42 ============> No. 49

Camila Giorgi (ITA): No. 54 ============> No. 64 (The quarters in Japan weren’t enough, as she was a semifinalist a year ago after defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka before falling to Osaka in the semis).

Bernarda Pera (USA): No. 71 ============> No. 81

Andrea Petkovic (GER): No. 77 ============> No. 85

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK): No. 96 ============> No. 109

Daria Gavrilova (AUS): No. 105 ============> No. 122 (The year to forget continues).

Maria Sharapova (RUS): No. 135 ============> No. 138

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 152 ============> No. 157 (Back in action at a $60,000 ITF tournament in Templeton, Calif. this week).

Mandy Minella (LUX): No. 154 ============> No. 174 (The 33-year-old got back into the top 100 this this summer. But she’s been dropping since).

The road to Shenzhen

A few small moves, as Osaka solidifies her likely spot.

report

For the complete WTA rankings picture, click here.

Gauff, Sock get US Open singles wild cards

As previously announced, the US Open organizers went against the WTA age-eligibility rules and decided to hand 15-year-old American Coco Gauff a wild card into the US Open women’s singles.

On the men’s side, former top-10 singles player and former US Open mixed doubles champion Jack Sock heads the list.

Three other young female Americans also were named Tuesday.

Caty McNally, the 17-year-old who won the Citi Open doubles with Gauff and had a wild card into the Cincinnati tournament this week, will join Gauff.

(You’d suspect they’ll get a wild card into the women’s doubles together as well).

Former junior No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe, who is still 17 herself and currently ranked a career-best No. 105, gets one. Of course,

Oswuigwe is only a few withdrawals away from earning the spot on her own merit, with No. 102 Svetlana Kuznetsova having just entered the main draw with the withdrawal of Dominika Cibulkova.

Andreescu
Osuigwe at the US Open last year. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Francesco Di Lorenzo, a 22-year-old lefty who attended Ohio State and qualified at the Rogers Cup last week, also earned a wild-card invitation. She stands at a career-high No. 128 this week.

26 is the new 18

The group on the men’s side is a fair bit older – and definitely has a theme. Bjorn Fratangelo (26), Marcos Giron (26), Denis Kudla (26) join Sock who is – you guessed it – 26.

Sock

Kudla is currently ranked No. 111. But he was right at No. 100 at the entry deadline for the final major of the year. And thus will be next in when someone withdraws.

With players like Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych on that list, that’s a near-certainty.

(UPDATE: Shortly after this announcement, del Potro did in fact pull out, leaving the main-draw spot for Kudla. Chris Eubanks received the wild-card instead, and we would expect that, like last year, he might also team up in the mixed with Coco Gauff).

The announcement today explains why Andy Murray had to make a call Monday about whether or not to take a US Open wild card. He decided not to, as he wasn’t prepared for the grind of best-of-five sets.

That was in line with that he said in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago.

However, there may still be one dangling up there in the case of a sudden change of heart for Murray, because of Kudla’s situation.

Reciprocal wild cards and challenge winner

Australia’s reciprocal wild card has been given to 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur, while Diane Parry gets the French federation reciprocal.

The French reciprocal has been awarded to Antoine Hoang, currently ranked No. 101. Hoang, 23, would be close to getting in on his own if this week’s ranking counted.

As it is, he’s fifth in line to get in, on the entry list.

Katie Volynets, who won the girls 18s national event last week also gets one as does Zachary Svajda, who won the boys’ 18s.

Kristie Ahn won the US Open Wild Card Challenge that tabulated results earlier in the hard-court season and earned the final wild card spot. Ernesto Escobedo won the equivalent wild card on the men’s side.

Typically, the Aussies had held a “US Open wild card playoff” in the U.S. to determine that wild card, held at the venue in New Haven. They certainly have a large group of female players competing at the various WTA and ITF tournaments in North America this summer.

But it appears they have just unilaterally handed it to Stosur this year, on the basis of her being a former champion. But their men’s reciprocal remains to be determined.

Qualifying WCs

Men:

JC Aragone
Jenson Brooksby
Maxime Cressy
Sebastian Korda
Stefan Kozlov
Govind Nanda
Sam Riffice
Alex Rybakov
JJ Wolf

Women:

Hailey Baptiste
Reese Brantmeier 
Caroline Dolehide
Vicky Duval
Jamie Loeb
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Emma Navarro
Shelby Rogers
Katrina Scott