A dramatic Roland Garros has led to dramatic movements on the latest edition of the WTA Rankings, with brand new champion Ashleigh Barty rising to World No.2, runner-up Marketa Vondrousova and semifinalist Johanna Konta vaulting into the Top 20 and semifinalist Amanda Anisimova soaring into the Top 30.
Exactly three years ago, Ashleigh Barty quietly re-entered the WTA Rankings at World No.623 after reaching the semifinals of the Eastbourne ITF $50k event – her first tournament following a two-year hiatus from the sport in which the Australian had been unsure whether she would ever return.
But, refreshed from her teenage burnout and playing the sport on her own terms, Barty has essayed one of the most remarkable comebacks in tennis history. Her rise since returning has been a meteoric one befitting the former junior prodigy whose natural talent had been evident to the world ever since winning the Wimbledon junior title as a 15-year-old in 2013 – and last week, she capped it with her first senior Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros, dropping just two sets en route to becoming the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973.
This time last year, Barty was yet to win a title above International level or to reach the second week of a major. But the milestones have come thick and fast over the past nine months: a fourth-round debut at the US Open last year, victory at the Zhuhai Elite Trophy to end 2018 with her biggest title to date, a maiden quarterfinal run at the Australian Open in January and a first Premier trophy in Miami in March were all the stepping stones that led to the 23-year-old’s Parisian triumph last week. They’re also the foundations of a new career-high ranking of World No.2 – where Barty finds herself just 136 points behing World No.1 Naomi Osaka ahead of a Wimbledon where both players only have third-round points to defend.
The WTA Rankings have also been shaken up in doubles: Kristina Mladenovic, the brand new Roland Garros champion alongside Timea Babos, ascends to World No.1 for the first time, becoming the 42nd doubles World No.1 since the inception of computer rankings in 1975 and the second Frenchwoman to hold the top spot following Julie Halard-Decugis in 2000. Mladenovic displaces Katerina Siniakova, who had reigned for 33 weeks.
Here are the notable movers in the WTA Rankings for the week commencing 10 June, 2019:
Ashleigh Barty (+6, 8 to 2): Having peaked at World No.129 in September 2013 as a 17-year-old in her first career, Barty wasted little time in picking up where she left off on her return. In June 2016, she dipped a toe back into the WTA waters, competing in two grass-court events that gave her a year-end ranking of World No.325 – but her comeback began in earnest in 2017. A maiden title in Kuala Lumpur and Premier finals in Birmingham and Wuhan saw the Australian rocket to World No.17 – the second-fastest move from outside the Top 100 that year. In 2018, Barty consolidated her Top 20 status admirably with titles in Nottingham and Zhuhai – but in 2019, the 23-year-old has resumed smashing through milestones: a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open and championship runs at both Miami and Roland Garros.
Marketa Vondrousova (+16, 38 to 22): Fittingly enough, the only Top 100 player to make a bigger move in 2017 than Barty was none other than Vondrousova, who zoomed from World No.376 to World No.67 in a year that saw her lift the trophy in just her second career WTA event in Biel/Bienne. And like Barty, the Czech phenomenon spent 2018 consolidating her position: fourth-round runs in Indian Wells and the US Open saw her begin to make an impact at bigger events, but injuries and a summer slump meant that she ended the year at No.67 for a second year in a row. But in 2019, the 19-year-old has begun to motor upwards again: Vondrousova quietly entered Roland Garros as one of the most consistent performers on the WTA Tour, having won at least three matches and reached at least the quarterfinals of every tournament she had played since January (with finals in Budapest and Istanbul and quarterfinals in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome). In Paris, the 2015 girls’ doubles champion would keep this streak going in eye-catching style with a remarkable run to her first Grand Slam final without conceding a set; having been ranked as low as World No.103 last August, Vondrousova now makes her Top 20 debut.
Johanna Konta (+8, 26 to 18): After reaching a career high of World No.4 in the wake of her second career major semifinal at Wimbledon 2017, Konta’s fortunes took a downturn – for nearly two years. The Briton would end that year on a five-match losing streak, and by July 2018 she had sunk to No.50. For the next 10 months, Konta’s ranking would stagnate, never sinking out of the Top 50 but never rising above No.38 – until her unexpected clay renaissance over the past two months. Finals in Rabat and Rome foreshadowed a third major semifinal showing at Roland Garros last week – and a return to the Top 20 for the first time since March 2018.
Petra Martic (+7, 31 to 24): Prior to this year, three milestones still eluded Martic – despite coming tantalizingly close to each. The Croat had reached two WTA finals – Kuala Lumpur 2012 and Bucharest 2018 – but lost both; she had been to the fourth round of four majors, but fell at that stage each time. Moreover, despite starting 2019 at a career high of World No.31, the Top 30 also remained out of reach. Starting the year with a modest 3-5 record was not the most obvious route to a turnaround – but once Martic had clay underfoot again, redemption came thick and fast. A belated maiden title in Istanbul got that monkey off her back and enabled the 28-year-old to break the Top 30 – and paved the way for a Grand Slam quarterfinal debut at Roland Garros, including an upset of No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova in the third round, that extended Martic’s clay record this year to 15-3 and ensures a new career high ranking.
Amanda Anisimova (+25, 51 to 26): This time last year, the American was midway through a four-month hiatus to recover from a foot injury that had afflicted her at a particularly ill-timed juncture, halting her momentum just after she had notched up a maiden Top 10 scalp in Petra Kvitova en route to the fourth round of Indian Wells in 2018. But Anisimova’s rise has continued to be spectacular since returning to action. Ranked as low as World No.198 last July, the 17-year-old gatecrashed the Top 100 with a first final in Hiroshima in September – and a maiden title in Bogota this April set her up for an astonishing run to the Roland Garros semifinals that featured a stunning quarterfinal upset of defending champion Simona Halep. Consequently, Anisimova – the youngest player to reach the last four of a major since Nicole Vaidisova at Roland Garros 2006 – nearly halves the career-high ranking she was perched at before Paris, making her Top 50 and Top 30 debuts in one fell swoop.
Sofia Kenin (+5, 35 to 30): The American, who won her maiden title in Hobart in January, has been quietly building up a reputation as a dangerous floater in any draw. After shocking Serena Williams in the third round of Roland Garros to make the second week of a major for the first time, though, Kenin has certainly cemented the “dangerous” part – but, now that she’s cracked the Top 30 as a result, it’s unlikely that the 20-year-old can be considered a floater for much longer.
Veronika Kudermetova (+8, 68 to 60): The Russian kicked off Roland Garros with the first of what would be a litany of upsets, recovering from a bagel first set to eliminate former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. Kudermetova is no stranger to upsets – the 22-year-old defeated a Top 30 player in each of her first two WTA main draws last year – but the Wozniacki win, her first over a Top 20 opponent, was her biggest yet. Having broken the Top 100 for the first time in February, Kudermetova hits another career high as a result of her third-round run.
Sara Sorribes Tormo (+11, 75 to 64): The Spaniard followed up a second-round showing at Roland Garros with a run to the biggest final of her career at the Bol 125K last week. Sorribes Tormo racked up impressive straight-set victories over Beatriz Haddad Maia, Laura Siegemund and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova before falling to defending champion Tamara Zidansek in the title round.
Iga Swiatek (+37, 104 to 67): One year after lifting the Roland Garros girls’ doubles trophy, Wimbledon junior champion Iga Swiatek was making an impact on her debut in the senior draw. The Pole, who reached her maiden WTA final in Lugano in April and who turned 18 midway through the fortnight, upset Wang Qiang 6-3, 6-0 in her first ever meeting with a Top 20 player, eventually making it to the fourth round before falling to Simona Halep. Swiatek, who cracked the Top 100 following her Lugano run, returns well inside that marker in style as a result.
Kaia Kanepi (+17, 88 to 71): Longtime upset artist Kaia Kanepi was at it again at Roland Garros. The Estonian stunned Julia Goerges to notch up her seventh win over a seed in the first round of a major, going on to make the second week of a Grand Slam for the ninth time in total before falling to Petra Martic in the fourth round.
Anna Blinkova (+28, 117 to 89): Blinkova’s run to the third round of Roland Garros was one of the most battling performances of the tournament. From the second round of qualifying onwards, the Russian recovered from at least a break deficit in four consecutive deciding sets, beating Anhelina Kalinina 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 from 0-2 down in the third; Julia Glushko 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 from 0-3 down in the third, Margarita Gasparyan 6-3, 4-6, 8-6 from 0-4 down in the third and finally upsetting home favorite Caroline Garcia 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 from 0-3 down in the third. Blinkova’s brilliant showing – which was only halted over another three tough sets by Madison Keys – arrests a minor slide that had seen her fall out of the Top 100 over the first five months of the year, returning to the Top 100 for the first time since February and hitting a new career high in the process.
Aliona Bolsova (+47, 137 to 90): Another new face making an impact on Roland Garros this year was Moldova-born Spaniard Bolsova, who reached the fourth round as a qualifier in her very first Grand Slam main draw. Indeed, the French Open was only the 21-year-old’s third WTA-level main draw following Charleston and Bogota in April; having only had one Top 100 win under her belt prior to Paris, Bolsova notched up three in the main draw. This time last year, Bolsova was ranked World No.306 and still less than a year into a comeback to the sport after a hiatus to pursue a university degree; this week sees her crack the Top 100 for the first time.