It was the last week of the WTA Tour’s regular season, with only the Tour Finals and the Zhuhai event to come.
So much of the focus was on who would make it to Singapore, and who would fall just short.
But if you were zoned in on that, you missed a motherlode of great tennis in Moscow and Luxembourg.
The effort put forth by the majority of the players in the final gasp of a long season was truly impressive – notably by Belinda Bencic, Dayana Yastremska, Genie Bouchard and Daria Kasatkina.
Meanwhile, this is that awkward rankings week when the WTA drops all the points earned in both Singapore and Zhuhai – before the events are even played.
It hurts last year’s champions – notably, Caroline Wozniacki drops. And Julia Goerges, who won in Luxembourg last week, drops from No. 9 to No. 14 because her points from winning Zhuhai a year ago were lopped off.
This was notably the week, in 2014, when Bouchard rose to her career-best No. 5 – for a week, before wrapping up the season at No. 7.
ON THE UPSWING
Angelique Kerber (GER): No. 3 ——–> No. 2 (The dropping of Wozniacki’s 2017 Singapore points allows the German to move up to No. 2)
Petra Kvitova (CZE): No. 7 ——–> No. 5
Sloane Stephens (USA): No. 8 ——–> No. 6
Daria Kasatkina (RUS): No. 14 ——–> No. 10 (A great effort to win her home-country tournament – and a quick flight to Singapore to be an alternate, and the Russian is back in the top 10).
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR): No. 15 ——–> No. 12 (She didn’t even play last week, but moves up three spots. Nice work if you can get it, but it mostly has to do with Singapore drops from Garcia, Ostapenko, Venus Williams and Muguruza).
Elise Mertens (BEL): No. 16 ——–> No. 13
Serena Williams (USA): No. 17 ——–> No. 15
Madison Keys (USA): No. 19 ——–> No. 16 (She’s planning a return for a finale in Zhuhai after injuring her knee in Asia).
Camila Giorgi (ITA): No. 28 ——–> No. 26 (Despite pulling out Luxembourg after winning Linz, the Italian reaches a career high).
Belinda Bencic (SUI): No. 47 ——–> No. 37 (From the qualifying to the final in Luxembourg, Bencic still has tournaments lined up this year).
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS): No. 46 ——–> No. 43 (Consider the comeback from shoulder surgery complete, as the 25-year-old Croat turned Aussie reaches a career best).
Saisai Zheng (CHN): No. 57 ——–> No. 47 (She’s playing doubles at a $25K in China this week, with an obscure player from Hong Kong. Yup, we don’t know why, either).
Dayana Yastremska (UKR): No. 66 ——–> No. 60 (It’s been a great final kick for the 18-year-old from Ukraine, one of those late-season revelations whose life, schedule and level of expectation will rise as 2019 dawns).
Ons Jabeur (TUN): No. 101 ——–> No. 62 (The talented Tunisian reached the Moscow final, and a career high. Her rise from No. 88 at beginning of the season doesn’t seem like a huge leap, but the leaps in her game have been impressive).
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN): No. 108 ——–> No. 88 (After a tough slog in Slam qualifying this season, Bouchard’s semifinal in effort puts her out of harm’s way, finally).
Margarita Gasparyan (RUS): No. 124 ——–> No. 109 (It’s been a long road back from injury, but the Russian with the one-handed backhand can see the top 100 from there).
Vera Zvonareva (RUS): No. 161 ——–> No. 124 (A great effort in Moscow out of the qualifying).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN): No. 2 ——–> No. 3
Karolina Pliskova (CZE): No. 5 ——–> No. 8
Julia Goerges (GEO): No. 9 ——–> No. 14 (Her 2017 Zhuhai points drop off, and so does she despite a win in Luxembourg. But she can get them back next week).
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP): No. 13 ——–> No. 17 (It’s been a forgettable season for the Spaniard).
Caroline Garcia (FRA): No. 12 ——–> No. 18
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT): No. 18 ——–> No. 21 (The Latvian drops out of the top 20 for the first time since she went from No. 47 to No. 12 by winning the French Open in 2017).
Venus Williams (USA): No. 22 ——–> No. 40 (Last year’s Singapore points are gone, closing out a 2018 for Williams that had a whole lot to live up to after last season, but sort of fizzled out. Williams’s ranking is the lowest it’s been since Feb. 2015; she began the season at No. 5).
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK): No. 39 ——–> No. 51
Monica Puig (PUR): No. 41 ——–> No. 54
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU): No. 53 ——–> No. 66
Coco Vandeweghe (USA): No. 55 ——–> No. 101 (Ouch, as the 440 points for reaching last year’s Zhuhai final drop off. The American drops out of the top 100 for the first time since March 2014. Just over a year ago, she reached her career best and jumped into the top 10. A lingering ankle injury has crushed the second half of her season).
Sara Errani (ITA): No. 92 ——–> No. 103 (Out of the top 100, and still out for awhile with a doping suspension).
Elena Vesnina (RUS): No. 117 ——–> No. 135 (The Russian is decorating the nursery).
Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS): No. 109 ——–> No. 152 (The Russian qualified and lost in the first round of Moscow last year, which doesn’t seem like a huge result to defend. But it’s a tight section of the rankings.
Carina Witthoeft (GER): No. 100 ——–> No. 168 (The German has drawn comparisons to Maria Sharapova at times – from far, you might do a double-take. But after winning Luxembourg a year ago, and losing in the first round this year, she cost herself a chance at the Australian Open main draw).