London | Raducanu rises to No 66 in the world

Emma Raducanu was rewarded with a rise of 11 spots in the WTA Rankings following her run to the semi-finals at the Hana Bank Korea Open last week, and she now sits at No 66, up from No 77.

I said, ‘OK, I have one month without tournaments, so let’s work this month’. I used it so well because I was working so hard. I had 32 days of just practising, which is not normal at that time of the year for a tennis player. Liudmila Samsonova

The 19-year old British No 1 produced her best performance in a tournament so far this year, winning 3 matches in a row for the first time since her US Open triumph last year.

Raducanu did not drop a set until the semi-final in Seoul, when she also took the opener against top seed Jelena Ostapenko, but she then suffered an injury set-back with her left glute, and opted to retire in the decider.

It was her 4th retirement of the season.

Despite being ranked inside the World’s Top 10 in July, Raducanu’s 1st-round exit at the US Open saw her drop more than 70 places when last year’s points fell off her record.

While the 19-year-old is still searching for her second WTA title, and is now only around 150 points shy of cracking the top 50 again, which she could well do by the end of the year as she has few points to defend and would auger well ahead of the Australian swing in January.


Ekaterina Alexandrova's WTA 250 title win in Seoul has moved her to a career-high of 21 in the world

© Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Ekaterina Alexandrova, who won the Korea Open on Sunday, has moved to a career-high of 21, while Spain’s Paula Badosa climbed from 5th to 3rd in the world, and Aryna Sabalenka also moved up 2 places to No 5.

Losing Korea Open finalist Ostapenko has moved up 2 spots, from 19 to No 17, while American Jessica Pegula was one of the biggest movers of the week, rising from 11 to No 6.

The rest of the top 10 remains much the same, with Coco Gauff, Simona Halep and Caroline Garcia maintaining their spots at 8, 9 and 10 respectively.

Ons Jabeur also keeps her spot at No 2, and has little chance of her becoming the World No 1 any time soon as Iga Swiatek remains unstoppable, well clear of the rest of the pack, with almost 6000 more points than the Tunisian.

The Pole has won 2 of the 4 Grand Slams in 2022, and went on a record-breaking win-streak of 37 matches earlier this year.

Having assumed the top spot from Ash Barty, following the Aussie’s retirement, Swiatek has more than made the position her own, and looks set to hold onto it for some time.


Since the start of August, Liudmilla Samsonova's ranking has improved 37 spots, from 60 to her career-high of No 23

© Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Elsewhere, after winning her 3rd title in 4 tournaments on Sunday at the Pan Pacific Open, Liudmila Samsonova rises 7 places to No 23 and has revealed that Wimbledon’s ban on Russian players gave her time to transform her game.

The World No 30 beat emerging Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, 7-5 7-5, to add to the titles she won in Washington and Cleveland in August.

The 23-year-old was shocked when she heard that Russian and Belarusian players were banned from Wimbledon in response to their countries’ invasion of Ukraine, but says she used the month off to sharpen her game, and feels she is now reaping the benefits.

She beat Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and two-time Grand Slam winner Garbiñe Muguruza last week in the Japanese capital, where she won the title without the loss of a single set.

“I said, ‘OK, I have one month without tournaments, so let’s work this month’,” big-hitting Samsonova said. “I used it so well because I was working so hard.

“I had 32 days of just practising, which is not normal at that time of the year for a tennis player.”

Samsonova added that she hits between 120 and 150 practice serves every day. and worked on her mental strength and technique during her summer break.

“I was feeling great, physically, but I was feeling a little bit tired mentally,” said Samsonova, who reached the last 16 at the recent US Open. “I’m very happy how I managed today with the pressure — it’s unbelievable what I did today. All the week was really impressive and I’m really happy about my game.”

Since the start of August, her ranking has improved 37 spots, from No 60 to her career-high No 23.


19-year old Zheng Qinwen makes her Top 30 debut at No 28 this week

© Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

19-year old Zheng was appearing in her first WTA final having knocked out Spanish top seed Paula Badosa in the 2nd-round.

The teenager was ranked outside the top 150 this time last year, but she has now risen to No 28 this week

“This week has been really good, and I had a good performance,” said Zheng, who also took a set off Swiatek in their Last 16 meeting at this year’s French Open. “But I think I can do a lot more than this.

“This was an experience – it was my first time to arrive in a final. I just hope next time I can come back stronger and better.”

At 19 years old, Zheng became the first Chinese teenager to reach a tour-level singles final last week, and has also become the youngest Chinese woman to crack the Top 30.

Zheng is joins her compatriot there, 33-year old Zhang Shuai, who was a semi-finalist in Tokyo, and moves up from 28 to No 26.

As a qualifier last week in Budapest, a WTA 125 level tournament, Tamara Korpatsch survived a nearly 3-hour final to capture the title, and the German now makes her Top 100 debut, moving up 18 spots, from 118 to No 100, while her opponent, Viktoriya Tomova jumped 16 spots this week, moving from 109 to a career-high of No 93.

American Claire Liu reached her second tour-level quarter-final of the season last week in Tokyo, paving the way for her climb to a new career-high of 73, while Fernanda Contreras Gomez reached the 2nd-round in Tokyo as a qualifier, and the 24-year-old Mexican climbs 41 spots to her new career-high of 141 in just her 4th career main-draw appearance.

After winning 5 consecutive titles at ITF Circuit W25 events, Brenda Fruhvirtova, the talented Czech teenager, has climbed a massive 228 spots during the streak, moving from 394 to No 166.

Also, as a qualifier in Tokyo, Greece’s Despina Papamichail advanced to the 2nd-round of the main draw and moves up 35 spots, from 213 to No 178.



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