London | Swiatek holds onto her top spot, for now

At least for now, World No 1 Iga Swiatek is holding on to her top spot after winning the French Open title at Roland Garros on Saturday, which had been under threat by Aryna Sabalenka, while runner-up Karolina Muchova, and Elena Rybakina are among the big winners in the latest WTA rankings updated on Monday after a fortnight of enthralling action in Paris.

With no scope of adding more points to her tally, Swiatek was always going to be at a risk of losing her foothold in the WTA rankings coming into the French Open, but she came good and successfully defended both her title and all her points.

Rybakina, who made her Top 10 debut early in the year off the back of a strong showing in Australia and at the Sunshine Double, hit a new career-high of No 3, and while she did not earn any additional points over the course of her 3rd-round run at the French Open, the Kazakh jumped a spot, courtesy of Jessica Pegula’s failure to defend the points she earned from last year.

Rybakina, holding steady at 5,090, now stands behind only Swiatek and Sabalenka in the standings, and is followed by Caroline Garcia (5,025), Jessica Pegula (4,905), and Ons Jabeur (3,961).

The Kazakh, who won Wimbledon last year but did not receive any points for her efforts, has been playing catch up ever since, and is also eyeing the top spot.

Swiatek, however, kept her grip on the top spot with 8,940 points, aided by Muchova’s win over Sabalenka in the semi-finals.

Sabalenka nevertheless earned 471 more points over the 2 weeks in Paris and now has 8,012, closing the gap on the World No 1, although Swiatek still maintains a healthy 928-point cushion over the Belarusian.

Coco Gauff, meanwhile, finds herself dropping a spot to be ranked at No 7 with 3,435 points, while Maria Sakkari (3,272), Petra Kvitova (3,102), and Beatriz Haddad Maia (2,910), making her Top 10 debut riding high on her semi-final run in Paris, all follow the American teenager.

Remarkably, Elina Svitolina, who, playing her first Grand Slam tournament after returning from maternity leave, made the quarter-finals and, as a result, the Ukrainian made the biggest jump of all, rising 119 places to finish at No 73 with 792 points.

Other big movers in the WTA rankings, meanwhile, include Bernarda Pera (+9 to No 27), Mayar Sherif (+14 to No 40), Jasmine Paolini (+12 to No 41), Lesia Tsurenko (+21 to No 45), Martina Trevisan (-39 to No 63), Anna Karolína Schmiedlová (+26 to No 74), Elina Avanesyan (+54 to No 80), and Sara Sorribes Tormo (+50 to No 82).

Aryna Sabalenka's ambitions to take over the top spot were thwarted by Karolina Muchova in the Last 4 at Roland Garros

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Things look a little different in the 2023 WTA Race, despite Swiatek’s 3rd Roland Garros title, because, unlike the rankings, the race features only points that players have won so far in the calendar year, as opposed to in the previous 365 days.

As such, Swiatek is currently at No 2 behind Sabalenka, who is No 1.

The Belarusian won the Australian Open and the Madrid Open while also making a few deep runs elsewhere as well, to total 5620 points so far, which is some 500 points more than Swiatek has.

The Pole has a total of 5145 points right now after her French Open triumph.

While Sabalenka currently leads the race, she could possibly emerge on top of the rankings if she has a tremendous grass season, something Swiatek is not banking on.

Right now, Rybakina is 3rd in the race, with 4406, and, if she has a strong Wimbledon again, she might emerge on top of both the race and rankings.

These ‘big three’ will probably be battling it out for the Top 3 places in the race, meaning that they will be appearing at the WTA Finals later this year, while the battle for the No 1 spot in the rankings will be a close run as well as an interesting subplot to observe this year, with a good chance that Swiatek might get replaced after holding the spot for over a year.

The rest of the race looks vastly different from the field seen at the WTA Finals last year, with no Garcia, who won the event, Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina in contention in the Top 8.



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