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After around a one-month break, the WTA rankings are back in business. As a quick reminder, these rankings chop and change on a rolling one-week basis. And since today is January 9th, this is the very first update of the 2023 season. It’s been a strange time having no tennis to tune in for on the WTA Tour. But given the introduction of the United Cup, this year has started with a bang.
With that said, it wasn’t just the United Cup that was held in the first week of the new season. In addition to the United Cup, there was also the first of two Adelaide International events – both serving as Australian Open warm-up events. There was also the ASB Classic played in New Zealand, which is a 250 event whereas the Adelaide International was a 500 event. Of course, the United Cup was also a 500 event, as has been widely documented recently.
Anyway, you are no doubt eager to check out the WTA rankings updates as of January 9th. So let me cover the more exciting details of the first update of the season right now.
Week Commencing January 9th – WTA Rankings Updates
As you may be aware, the USA was the team that captured the first edition of the United Cup over the weekend. And since this tournament included points for both the men and women involved, there has been a bit of movement for the Americans this week. Yet surprisingly, it is the Czech players that have stolen the show in terms of the biggest movers. With that in mind, I have covered the biggest climbers and fallers below.
The Week’s Biggest Climbers
As always, I tend to focus on the WTA top 100 to bring you the most relevant updates. After all, these are the players that are at the top of the tree, so you will naturally be more interested in what’s going down at the top. On that note, the biggest climber of the week is Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic. This young lady enjoyed a phenomenal week at the first Adelaide International tournament. In fact, she went all the way to the finals before losing in a tight match to Sabalenka.
Thanks to such a performance, she has surged by 46 spots up to her new ranking of 56 in the world. This is a great achievement for Noskova, and it certainly makes her Australian Open that little bit more exciting. And following in Noskova’s footsteps, another Czech player in the form of Marketa Vondrousova also enjoyed a big rise of 14 places. This was achieved thanks to her quarter-final performance at the Adelaide International.
Interestingly, she also lost to Sabalenka, who as you already know, won the tournament. And finally, a young Spanish player named Rebeka Masarove also had an amazing week. She rose by 36 spots in the WTA rankings to a new position of 94 – officially cracking the top 100 ahead of the Australian Open.
The Week’s Biggest Fallers
Keeping in line with the nature of tennis, while there are players who experienced glory last week, others didn’t have such a great seven days. In fact, there are a few players that haven’t had the best start to 2023. Sadly for Aliaksandra Sasnovich, she is the top faller of the week. Sasnovich has dropped from number 30 to number 38 in the WTA rankings, demonstrating the steepest drop of anyone inside the top 100.
However, she’s not alone with this fall through the rankings. Also falling through the rankings is Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain. She fell by 7 spots from number 70 to number 77 in the rankings, putting her as the second biggest faller of the week. Yet while these two have endured the worst drops of the previous seven days, other big names have also moved the wrong way down the WTA ladder.
Naomi Osaka fell by 5 spots to number 47. Amanda Anisimova of the USA fell by 6 spots down from 23 to number 29. And there was another 6-place drop for Shelby Rogers of the USA. She has moved from 47 to number 53 in the rankings. Needless to say, this isn’t the ideal build-up for the Australian Open for any of these players. In fact, Naomi Osaka is actually one of the most recent withdrawals from the 2023 Australian Open.
Therefore, her ranking will drop even further once the Australian Open comes to a close in a few weeks’ time.
Top Rankings Stories
In my opinion, the biggest story of the week for the WTA rankings has to be the dominance of the American women in the United Cup. In case you missed it, both Madison Keys and Jessica Pegula were pretty sensational during this event. Pegula lost one match all tournament, and this was at the very beginning. Then again, she is the number 3 player in the world, so would we expect anything less? As for Madison Keys, she was flawless in this event for the USA.
That’s right – Madison Keys went unbeaten for her country in the 2023 United Cup. She posted five singles victories, which helped the USA in their quest to capture the first United Cup event. Due to these performances, Keys picked up enough points to officially enter the WTA top 10 for the first time in a long time! In fact, Keys hasn’t been ranked inside the top 10 since 2019, so this is obviously a tremendous achievement for her.
And although it’s only one ranking spot shift, this is the main story of the week for me. As for Jessica Pegula, given that it’s pretty tough to climb the rankings when you’re inside the top five, she hasn’t moved. Instead, she has retained the number 3 ranking ahead of the Australian Open. So with that in mind, since the rankings won’t change now until the Australian Open begins on January 16th, Pegula will be the number 3 seed.