Saturday, November 21, 2020

2020 WTA Rankings Round-Up: 2+2=5

"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." - George Orwell (in 1984)

Last year Ash succeeded in exceeding them all,
This year she remains at the tip-top,
But carries a bag full of asterisks rather than balls.

Because of this, wish some may and wish some might
2020 likely doesn't have the #1 they wish for tonight.
But what can you do, and what can you say?
With a pandemic ravaging the world, the "best" tennis is the tennis that is played, well, *today*.

Unlike the tour (which only did so for a while), the Aussie came to a full-stop,
And for most of the year we had no Ash at all.
But while #1 remained Down Under, the tour did not flop.
It simply meant the Restart allowed others into the brawl.

A second different continent and surface played host to the Kenin Way,
and a Pole at a major finally did have her day.
Vika's career was no longer wrecked,
and after a three-year absence we once more witnessed the Pironkova Effect.

Halep's consistency continued to make fans rejoice,
while Naomi the Messenger finally found her adult voice.
In the closing moments Aryna above the clouds did float,
while it came at the expense of one many call "GOAT."

In the end, it was a season where the whole system "went to school,"
Many learned loads of new tactics, but others are now forced to retool.
As the sport, and us all, await a return to something more structured and formal
One shivers to wonder what new fresh hell might someday make 2020 look...

The annual Backspin recapping season is upon us, this year with a grab bag of numbers and year-end ranking rises and falls at the conclusion of a WTA season quite unlike any others that have come before.

Of course, especially this time around, I can't promise any of these words and/or numbers will be as headspinning as the breathtaking series of performances put on at Roland Garros this fall (not spring... but that's 2020) by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, or as oddly unsurprising as the three-years-in-the-making comeback in New York of Tsvetana Pironkova, who emerged from the edge of reality (I mean the shutdown... but I guess they're sort of similar) to, well, prove that *some* things apparently *never* change.

Nor will any single stat be as inadvertently "unmannerly" as Aryna Sabalenka's late-Restart rush to break down one of her remaining career barriers in the eleventh hour of the tour season, an accomplishment that came at the expense of the season-ending standing of an (the?) all-time great, or be as artfully soothing as the sight of Simona Halep's name at or near the top of any list commemorating overwhelming ranking consistency.

But, hey, what can you do, right?

First up, the annual Backspin "All-Rankings Team."

Congratulations to the players who pulled off some of the most significant rankings accomplishments during the very uniquely difficult 2020 season!

Victoria Azarenka, BLR: finally, in 2020, the "Vikaissance" was real. The former #1 and two-time slam champ -- back from having a baby, enduring a long custody battle and suffering through a series of bad draws -- caught fire during the summer, reaching the Cincy-at-NYC final at Flushing Meadows (getting the title in a walkover from Naomi Osaka for her first singles title in four years), then reached her first major final in seven years at the U.S. Open (falling to Osaka in three). Her momentum carried over to Europe, where she reached the Rome QF and Ostrava final and raised her season-ending ranking from #37 to #13, her best finish since 2016 and just her second Top 10 year since her third of three consecutive Top 3 rankings in 2013.

Jennifer Brady, USA: Brady was arguably the most improved player of 2020, building upon pre-shutdown QF (Brisbane, where she def. Sharapova and Barty) and SF (Dubai, with wins over Svitolina, Vondrousova and Muguruza) results with an undefeated summer exhibition circuit, then opening the Restart by winning her first tour title at Lexington. A career slam best semi at the U.S. Open followed, and she was one set from taking out eventual champ Osaka and reaching the final. A last SF in Ostrava finished off a season that saw Brady jump from #56 to #24, leaving herself with legitimate room for another huge leap to come in '21.

Leylah Fernandez, CAN: with Bianca Andreescu sidelined all year, Fernandez (along with an assist from Genie Bouchard, who rose from #224 to #141) kept Canadian women's tennis in the news. The then 17-year old former junior champ ('19 RG) qualified at the Australian Open, then was the season's youngest singles finalist at Acapulco. She was a 10-8 2nd set TB away from a straight sets win over Heather Watson in the final, but ultimately lost in three sets on the Brit's tenth MP. Fernandez recorded her first Top 10 win (Bencic in Fed Cup), won her first slam MD match in New York, reached the RG 3rd Round and finished at #88, a 121-spot leap from last year, second-best only to Podoroska's jump in the Top 100. The 18-year old is the second-youngest player in the Top 100, behind only #48 Coco Gauff.

Nadia Podoroska, ARG: in just her second slam MD appearance, Podoroska used her big forehand to power her way into the Roland Garros semifinals, a first for a qualifier in Paris and the first such run by any qualifier in a major since 1999. She was also the first woman representing a South American nation since '04 to reach the final four at a slam. That result, as well as three 2020 ITF titles, a WTA 125 semi, and additional tour level Restart QF (LInz) and SF (Palermo) results enabled the Argentine to climb from #255 to #47, by far the biggest leap by any Top 100 player over the past year.

Aryna Sabalenka, BLR: while she's found slam success in doubles (winning the U.S. Open and "Sunshine Double" in '19), Sabalenka's quest for a big singles breakthrough in a major will have to carry over into 2021. But she made significant strides in '20, tying with Simona Halep for the tour lead in titles (3) due to her back-to-back crowns (and 14-2 run) to close out the season and lifting her ranking from #11 to #10, completing her first career Top 10 campaign and avoiding a *third* straight season stuck just one spot away from The Club. Ranked #5 in doubles, Sabalenka is the only player ranked in the Top 10 in both disciplines, and has proven to be a "money player" at every level *except* for the slams (1r-2r-3r in '20, with her only career 4r at the '18 U.S.). Her eight singles titles since 2018 lead the tour, and she's gone 8-1 in her last nine singles finals (3-0 in high Premiers).

Iga Swiatek, POL: everyone could see Iga in their rearview mirror at the start of '20, but she ended up being even closer than she appeared. The 19-year old Pole's remarkable, no-sets-lost (and, really, none particularly close) Roland Garros run provided half of Swiatek's season total of wins (14). Over the two weeks, she defeated four former slam finalists, two of whom had won three of the previous eight major titles, to become Poland's first slam singles champion. The result alone lifted Iga from outside the Top 50 to inside the Top 20. The highest ranked teenager on tour, her #17 finish is forty-four spots better than where she was a year ago, the biggest rise of any Top 30 player.

Simona Halep, ROU: the Romanian is a ranking machine. Though she missed on her third #1 season in the last four (if she'd won Roland Garros as the favorite, she'd have surpassed Ash Barty), Halep's #2 finish -- with a 23-3 record and tour lead-sharing three titles -- gives her seven consecutive Top 4 seasons. She ends the season with 336 (and counting) weeks in the Top 10, 137 more the second-best active streak (Ka.Pliskova) on tour, the eighth-best in WTA history and the longest the women's game has seen since Steffi Graf.

Barbora Krejcikova, CZE: Krejcikova's pro (and junior) career has mostly been about doubles, and she *did* add another slam title (her fourth - 2 WD/2 MX) to her career resume when she claimed the only mixed competition played at a major (AO) in 2020. But she and Katerina Siniakova didn't win a title for the first time since 2017, with their best result a final in Dubai. Instead, it was the Czech's journey in singles that made the headlines. Realizing her dreams of singles success might be running out, Krejcikova saw 2020 as a "last" chance, and she made it happen. Coming into the season with fifteen failed slam singles qualifying attempts in sixteen tries, and one 1st Round loss, Krejcikova qualified at the Australian Open and reached the 2nd Round. Automatically in the draw in Paris, playing for her late former coach Jana Novotna, she reached the Roland Garros Round of 16 in just her third career slam MD appearance. The result was the highlight of a 20-9 year in singles that included her first tour-level semi (Ostrava) since May '17 and a #65 finish, up seventy spots from a year ago.

Mayar Sherif, EGY: in 2020, Sherif became the most successful Egyptian women's tennis player ever. A season after becoming the first to break the Top 200, '20 saw her rise to #132 as she (in Prague) became the first from her country to reach a tour-level MD since 1999, then the first ever to win a slam singles match (in Roland Garros qualifying), then to reach a slam MD, where she pushed #2 seed Karolina Pliskova to three sets. She closed the ranking period by claiming a $100K title in Charleston. After a 1-4 start to the season, Sherif was 21-5 the rest of the way on all levels, leading to her 80-spot climb since the end of 2019, a season in which she put together a 26-match winning streak on the ITF circuit.

Laura Siegemund, GER: the 32-year old German's success was varied, as well as delayed, in 2020. Three years ago she was a Roland Garros dark horse after a successful clay season run-up, but a knee injury wrecked her plans. This summer, Siegemund emerged from the shutdown to win her first career slam WD title (w/ Vera Zvonareva) to go with her U.S. MX crown from '16, then carried over the good feelings into the fall in Europe, finally having her day in Paris with her first career slam Round of 16 result that spearheaded her first Top 50 finish (at #50) since 2016, and is just the second of her career. Her #41 ranking in doubles is just her second Top 50 finish there, as well as her first career "50/50" campaign.

Martina Trevisan, ITA: while the Greatest Italian Tennis Generation is (mostly) gone, 2020 showed that women's tennis in Italy didn't go out of style with the famous Quartet. Trevisan, 27, was the tour's Italian feel-good story this year after having overcome an eating disorder that cost her years in the sport. She made her slam debut in Melbourne as a qualifier, reached the Palermo doubles final, and then put on a spirited, life-affirming run to the Roland Garros QF (again as a qualifier) with wins over Gauff, #20 Sakkari and #5 Bertens (her first Top 10 win). Trevisan climbed into the Top 100 from a '19 season-ending ranking of #153, finishing at #84.

Renata Zarazua, MEX: like Sherif, Zarazua's 2020 saw her tread on ground rarely occupied by someone from her country. In Acapulco, she upset Sloane Stephens and reached her first career WTA QF and SF, a first at the tour-level by a Mexican player since 1993. In the Restart, Zarazua qualified at Roland Garros to become the first woman from Mexico in a slam MD since 2000, then her win over soon-to-be junior champ Elsa Jacquemot made her just the third ever to record a MD win in a major. Her year-long climb lifted her season-ending ranking from last year's #280 to this season's #142.

Fiona Ferro, FRA: a year ago, Ferro was the fourth-ranked French woman behind countrywomen Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Carcia and Alize Cornet. Flashforward to 2020 and she's the *top*-ranked Pastry after a spirited season-long back-and-forth competition (at Roland Garros, the "live" rankings saw the top spot change hands every day) that saw her finish at #43, twenty-one spots higher than a season ago. Ferro won her second career WTA title at Palermo this season, and reached her first career slam Round of 16 on home soil (well, clay) in Paris.

Ons Jabeur, TUN: Jabeur is still seeking her first singles title, but she continues to chip away. In Melbourne, the Tunisian became the first Arab woman to reach a slam QF, then reached the Roland Garros Round of 16 in the fall (her second best slam result). Jabeur was on the cusp of much more, falling at the QF stage five straight times over the course of the year, but it was enough to still help her climb forty-six spots from #77 to #31 since the end of '19. It's the second biggest rise by any Top 30 player, behind only Podoroska's 208-spot ascent.

Garbine Muguruza, ESP: with her promising career sliding off the rails a bit in '19 with a fall to #36, the first finish below #21 since 2013 for the two-time slam champ and former #1, Muguruza enlisted Hall of Famer Conchita Martinez as coach for '20 and rediscovered her old form. Her 16-4, SF-QF-RU-QF-QF pre-shutdown start to the season included a berth in the Australian Open final (w/ three Top 10 wins), her fourth major final but first since 2017. Her Restart rustiness was evident, but the Spaniard still reached the Rome semis and was a hard out in two of her losses (three sets to Halep and Danielle Collins) in her 7-3 summer/fall stretch. Muguruza, even while leaving her work unfinished in this chopped-up season, ended 2020 back in the Top 15.

Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL: after three years away and having a baby, Pironkova suddenly announced her comeback during the shutdown. She arrived in New York for the U.S. Open (as an unranked wild card, both literally and figuratively) in the full form of her former self, knocking off seeds (#10 Muguruza and #18 Vekic in NYC -- giving her 13 seeded victories in her slam career) and becoming a living nightmare for a Williams sister (pushing Serena to three sets at the U.S., then getting a walkover from her at RG). The 33-year old reached the QF in one slam, then the 3rd Round in another and finished the season at #135 with just seven matches under her belt.

Elena Rybakina, KAZ: a season after rising from #191 to #37 between the end of 2018 and '19, Rybakina continued to climb in '20. Reaching five finals, and winning her second career WTA title in Hobart, the Russian-born Kazakh had jumped into the Top 20 by the end of February. Then the shutdown happened. The long break thwarted Rybakina's momentum, as she followed up her 21-4 start with an 8-6 finish that was largely padded by a final run in Strasbourg (she was 4-5 in the Restart without it). Ranked #17 when the tour closed down, Rybakina finished at #19 even without a good big event result on her record. She posted 3r-2r-2r results in slams, and 3r-3r-1r finishes in high Premier events. Still, she led the tour in many categories (including aces) and will hope for something resembling a more "conventional" schedule in the coming season.

Timea Bacsinszky, SUI (1st team)
Dasha Gavrilova, RUS/AUS (1st team)
Dasha Kasatkina, RUS (1st team)
Johanna Konta, GBR (1st team)
Garbine Muguruza, ESP (1st team)
Madison Brengle, USA
Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
Alona Ostapenko, LAT
Teliana Pereira, BRA
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK

Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR (1st team)
Dominika Cibulkova, SVK (1st team)
Vania King, USA (1st team)
Johanna Konta, GBR (1st team)
Naomi Osaka, JPN (1st team)
CiCi Bellis, USA
Kiki Bertens, NED
Viktorija Golubic, SUI
Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
Anastasija Sevastova, LAT

Ash Barty, AUS (1st team)
Caroline Garcia, FRA (1st team)
Martina Hingis, SUI (1st team)
Elise Mertens, BEL (1st team)
Alona Ostapenko, LAT (1st team)
Julia Goerges, GER
Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
Magdalena Rybarikova, SVK
Marketa Vondrousova, CZE

Kiki Bertens, NED (1st team)
Simona Halep, ROU (1st team)
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, CZE/CZE (1st team)
Naomi Osaka, JPN (1st team)
Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (1st team)
Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU
Danielle Collins, USA
Dasha Kasatkina, RUS
Angelique Kerber, GER
Petra Martic, CRO
Caroline Wozniacki, DEN

Bianca Andreescu, CAN (1st team)
Ash Barty, AUS (1st team)
Coco Gauff, USA (1st team)
Sofia Kenin, USA (1st team)
Karolina Muchova, CZE (1st team)
Alison Riske, USA (1st team)
Kristie Ahn, USA
Amanda Anisimova, USA
Petra Martic, CRO
Elena Rybakina, KAZ
Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
Dayana Yastremska, UKR

Victoria Azarenka, BLR (1st team)
Jennifer Brady, USA (1st team)
Leylah Fernandez, CAN (1st team)
Nadia Podoroska, ARG (1st team)
Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (1st team)
Iga Swiatek, POL (1st team)
Simona Halep, ROU
Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
Mayar Sherif, EGY
Laura Siegemund, GER
Martina Trevisan, ITA
Renata Zarazua, MEX

**RANKINGS NOTES OF NOTE** [as of end-of-season ranks on November 16, 2020]

Rankings-wise, just like with everything else, 2020 was unique and (at best) wildly frustrating.

Unlike with the season-ending rankings from past years, there was far less movement -- especially in the "moderate rise" category, though there were a few big, usually one result-related leaps -- in regards to most players' standings at the close of the 2019 season compared to that of '20. The shortened season, revised ranking calculation system and extended time frame accounted for, instituted in response to the COVID-19-related shutdown from March until August of the tennis tours, has made this year's season-ending rankings -- in most cases -- the least reflective season standings in tour history.

Because of all this, the season-ending world #1 (Ash Barty) played just one major all year, won just eleven matches (of 14), and hasn't played since February. Another Top 10 player (Bianca Andreescu) didn't play *at all* in 2020, while a Top 15 player (Johanna Konta) had a sub-.500 record on the year.

Some have scoffed at the tour's official crowning of a year-end #1 (personally, I would have preferred skipping the whole process, simply extending the ranking period until the end of next season and then crowing a "2020-21 World #1"), but it isn't as if such an asterisk-laden situation wasn't already a known reality. Yes, some people have great difficulty accepting reality these days, but once Simona Halep failed to win Roland Garros (which would have made her #1, giving her a third season-ending top ranking in four years), Barty's repeat as the tour #1 was a foregone conclusion. It is what it is.

In all, the eight returning Top 10ers are the most in a season since 2013.

2010: 7
2011: 4
2012: 7
2013: 9
2014: 7
2015: 6
2016: 5
2017: 4
2018: 4
2019: 6
2020: 8

Additionally, the final Top 3 all finished in the Top 4 a year ago, and the Top 5 were ranked in the Top 6 in 2019. Only #4 Sofia Kenin, the '20 Australian Open champ and Roland Garros finalist, managed to find a way to break through. She was joined in the final Top 10 by fellow first-timer Aryna Sabalenka (#10), who put on an eleventh hour rush (back-to-back titles to end the season) to earn the honor.

Even without all the pandemic-related asterisks, Halep's consistency shines through. Her streak of seven straight Top 10 seasons is the longest active run on tour, with all seven finishes in the Top 4. Her last non-Top 10 season was 2013, when she finished #11 after winning a career-high six titles and 50 matches. She was the WTA's co-leader (w/ Sabalenka) with three titles in 2020.

=2020 TOP 10=
[Career Top 10 seasons]
8 - Petra Kvitova, CZE (#8)
7 - Simona Halep, ROU (#2)
5 - Karolina Pliskova, CZE (#6)
4 - Elina Svitolina, UKR (#5)
3 - Kiki Bertens, NED (#9)
3 - Naomi Osaka, JPN (#3)
2 - Ash Barty, AUS (#1)
2 - Bianca Andreescu, CAN (#7)
1 - Sofia Kenin, USA (#4)
1 - Aryna Sabalenka, BLR (#10)
[Consecutive Top 10 seasons]
7 - Simona Halep
5 - Karolina Pliskova
4 - Elina Svitolina
3 - Kiki Bertens
3 - Petra Kvitova
3 - Naomi Osaka
2 - Ash Barty
2 - Bianca Andreescu
[Career Top 5 seasons; *-2020 Top 5]
7 - Simona Halep*
3 - Naomi Osaka*
2 - Ash Barty*
2 - Petra Kvitova
2 - Karolina Pliskova
2 - Elina Svitolina*
1 - Bianca Andreescu
1 - Sofia Kenin*
0 - Kiki Bertens
0 - Aryna Sabalenka
[Consecutive Top 5 seasons]
7 - Simona Halep
3 - Naomi Osaka
2 - Ash Barty
[New to Top 10 in 2020]
#4 Sofia Kenin (first-time)
#10 Aryna Sabalenka (first-time)
[Fell Out of Top 10 from 2019]
Belinda Bencic (#8 to #12)
Serena Williams (#10 to #11)

The United States once again produced the most Top 100 players this season, landing eighteen in the field, one more than a year ago. No other nation's contingent hit double-digits, as the closest were the always reliable Czechs (9) and still-relevant Russians (8). In all, thirty-two nations are represented in the season-ending Top 100, a number essentially on par with recent seasons, though a second consecutive yearly decrease.

2011: 37
2012: 36
2013: 36
2014: 34
2015: 33
2016: 33
2017: 34
2018: 34
2019: 33
2020: 32

Players from nine nations are ranked in the Top 10, with only the Czechs with more than one representative, though the U.S. had two until the final rankings of the season (when Aryna Sabalenka bumped out Serena Williams). Sixteen nations make up the Top 20 (two more than in '19). Only the U.S. (3), Czech Republic (2) and Belarus (2) have multiple representatives. The Czechs would have matched the Bannerettes if not for the final week slip of #21 Marketa Vondrousova, who was surpassed by Linz finalist Elise Mertens (who rose to #20 to get her third straight Top 20 season).

There were no Russians in the Top 20, but their four-player group in the Top 50 ranks behind only the U.S. (9) and Czech Republic (5). Meanwhile, France had its top three players tightly positioned between #42 and #49, with another just outside at #53.

The number of Top 50 nations slipped slightly from last year's twenty-seven, down to twenty-five. Thirteen of the nations were represented by just one woman, though five sport Top 10 representation, including those with the *top* three ranked players in the world: Australia (#1 Barty), Romania (#2 Halep) and Japan (#3 Osaka).

2013: 23
2014: 23
2015: 20
2016: 25
2017: 21
2018: 25
2019: 27
2020: 25

In a year of significantly lower than normal upward mobility in a clipped and shortened season, with a temporary ranking system that helps to preserve past rankings points, just *one* player rose from outside the Top 100 to finish inside the Top 50 this season: Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska, who *barely* did so at #47, a huge increase from her #255 finish in 2019. Four players did so a year ago, including U.S. Open champ Bianca Andreescu, who finished at #5.

Once again, while the field of veterans is deep and growing, the natural ebb of a long career is ultimately unstoppable. A year after Venus Williams dropped to #53, just her second finish outside the Top 50 in her two decades long career, fell still more to #78 in 2020 as she played just nine matches (going 1-8). For the 40-year old, other than a 2011 season (#103) in which she played just eleven matches (8-3), it's her lowest season-ending ranking since 1996 (at age 16, the year *before* her U.S. Open debut). After seeing her '19 season-ending losing streak carry over into this season and ultimately reach a career-worst five matches, Williams ended her '20 campaign on another five-match losing streak.

Veteran Angelique Kerber didn't continue her up-and-down trend in '20. After going from #1 to #21 to #2 to #20, the German slipped a bit more to #25 this season.

Sloane Stephens is just 27, but after falling from #6 to #25 last year, she dropped down to #39 this time around. She was just 4-11 on the season.

Usually, there are players who end the season with their nose pressed up against the proverbial glass, just missing out on crossing over a major dividing line in the rankings, be it the Top 10, 20 or 100. That *did* happen this week, as Kaia Kanepi finished at #101 for a second straight season. But some of the biggest news of the WTA season's final event in Linz was that both finalists avoided such a fate, as runner-up Elise Mertens climbed from #21 to #20 in the final rankings update, while champion Aryna Sabalenka avoided her *third* straight #11 finish by climbing from #11 to #10 with her second straight title to complete her first career Top 10 season.

2005: Serena Williams, USA
2006: Dinara Safina, RUS
2007: Elena Dementieva, RUS
2008: Nadia Petrova, RUS
2009: Marion Bartoli, FRA
2010: Li Na, CHN
2011: Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2012: Marion Bartoli, FRA
2013: Simona Halep, ROU
2014: Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
2015: Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2016: Petra Kvitova, CZE
2017: Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2018: Aryna Sabalenka, BLR
2019: Aryna Sabalenka, BLR
2020: Serena Williams, USA
2005: Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2006: Li Na, CHN
2007: Sybille Bammer, AUT
2008: Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
2009: Amelie Mauresmo, FRA
2010: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
2011: Julia Goerges, GER
2012: Varvara Lepchenko, USA
2013: Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2014: Garbine Muguruza, ESP
2015: Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2016: Samantha Stosur, AUS
2017: Angelique Kerber, GER
2018: Anett Kontaveit, EST
2019: Karolina Muchova, CZE
2020: Elise Mertens, BEL
2011: Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, FRA
2012: Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, FRA
2013: Mariana Duque, COL
2014: Aleksandra Krunic, SRB
2015: Kiki Bertens, NED
2016: Donna Vekic, CRO
2017: Kurumi Nara, JPN
2018: Heather Watson, GBR
2019: Kaia Kanepi, EST
2020: Kaia Kanepi, EST

As was the case the last two years, the group of U.S. players once again includes both the oldest (#78 Venus Williams, 40) and youngest (#48 Coco Gauff, 16) members of the Top 100. Two years ago, then 17-year old Amanda Anisimova was the youngest player in the Top 100, and Gauff the youngest in the Top 1000. As Gauff has continued to rise, an even younger Bannerette contingent continues to arrive, as Robin Montgomery (#491) ranks as the youngest player in the Top 700.

15-year old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova (#793) is the youngest in the Top 1000, though her even younger sister (13-year old Brenda) might be looking to replace her for the honor come 2021.

While the number of Top 100 ranked teens has hovered between 4-6 for a few years now, the exploits and notoriety of those players continue to grow. Of the six who did so this year, 19-year old Iga Swiatek won Roland Garros (a year after then-teenager Bianca Andreescu won the U.S Open), while Gauff is the youngest player in both the singles Top 50 *and* doubles Top 50. Teenagers Leylah Fernandez, Leonie Kung and Dayana Yastremska also reached WTA singles finals in '20, while Elisabetta Cocciaretto reached the stage on the WTA 125 level. Wang Xiyu was a first-time tour semifinalist, as well.

2014: 5
2015: 5
2016: 6
2017: 4
2018: 5
2019: 6
2020: 6

The youthful pool of talent continues to expand. The past few years have seen the number of teens ranked between #101-200 go from single-digits in 2016 to double-digits in every season since. The largest number (17) came in the following season, but 2020 still maintained the high count with eleven, down three from '19.

Top 10: #7 Bianca Andreescu, CAN (20)
Top 20: #17 Iga Swiatek, POL (19)
Top 50: #48 Coco Gauff, USA (16)
Top 100: Gauff
Top 200: Gauff
Top 300: Gauff
Top 400: Gauff
Top 500: #491 Robin Montgomery, USA (16)
Top 600: Montgomery
Top 700: Montgomery
Top 800: #793 Linda Fruhvirtova, CZE (15)
Top 900: L.Fruhvirtova
Top 1000: L.Fruhvirtova

At the same time, the *next* wave of young stars are already making their move. 2020's junior slam finalists (and junior Top 10) and their current WTA rankings...

#1 Elsa Jacquemot, FRA [RG Jr. W] - WTA #532
#2 Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, AND [AO Jr. W] - NR
#3 Alexandra Eala, PHI - NR
#4 Diane Parry, FRA - WTA #305
#5 Daria Snigur, UKR - WTA #218
#6 Polina Kudermetova, RUS - WTA #791
#7 Robin Montgomery, USA - WTA #491
#8 Alexandra Vecic, GER - WTA #946
#9 Kristina Dmitruk, BLR - NR
#10 Alexa Noel, USA - WTA #824
#12 Weronika Baszak, POL [AO Jr. RU] - NR
#14 Alina Charaeva, RUS [RG Jr. RU] - WTA #534

As for the youngest players in the top-end of the tour rankings...

*YOUNGEST PLAYER - end of '20 season*
[Top 100]
16...Coco Gauff, USA (born May 13, 2004)
18...Leylah Fernandez, CAN (born September 6, 2002)
18...Marta Kostyuk, UKR (born June 28, 2002)
19...Amanda Anisimova, USA (born August 31, 2001)
19...Iga Swiatek, POL (born May 31, 2001)
19...Anastasia Potapova, RUS (born March 30, 2001)
20...Varvara Gracheva, RUS (born August 19, 2000)
20...Ann Li, USA (born June 26, 2000)
20...Bianca Andreescu, CAN (born June 16, 2000)
20...Dayana Yastremska, UKR (born May 15, 2000)
17...Clara Tauson, DEN (born December 21, 2002)
18...Whitney Osuigwe, USA (born April 17, 2002)
18...Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL (born December 22, 2001)
18...Caty McNally, USA (born November 20, 2001)
19...Wang Xinyu, CHN (born September 26, 2001)
19...Kamilla Rakhimova, RUS (born August 28, 2001)
19...Wang Xiyu, CHN (born March 28, 2001)
19...Yuki Naito, JPN (born February 16, 2001)
19...Elisabetta Cocciaretto, ITA (born January 25, 2001)
19...Olga Danilovic, SRB (born January 23, 2001)
19...Kaja Juvan, SLO (born November 25, 2000)

38-year old Serena Williams, while still seeking slam win #24, *did* win her first title since her return after becoming a mother. She was the third-oldest singles champ in tour history (a mid-season win in '21 would place her atop the all-time list, over Billie Jean King and Kimiko Date). Both Williams and 31-year old former #1 Victoria Azarenka claimed titles amongst the thirtysomething set, with Zhang Shuai adding a final appearance to give the veteran set a combined five on the season.

Eighteen players aged 30 or older (and one over 40) ended the '20 season in the Top 100, two more than last season. If not for the retirements of Caroline Wozniacki and Julia Goerges (and maybe Maria Sharapova?) during the season, the total would have likely been even higher.

Top 10: #8 Petra Kvitova, CZE (30)
Top 20: #11 Serena Williams, USA (39)
Top 50: S.Willliams
Top 100: #78 Venus Williams, USA (40)
Top 200: V.Williams
Top 300: V.Williams
Top 400: #433 Greta Arn, HUN (41)
Top 500+: Arn

The thirtysomething depth is growing, as well. A season ago, the 30+ players ranked between #101-200 rose from ten to eighteen. In 2020, the total ballooned further to twenty-six.

*OLDEST PLAYER - end of '20 season*
[Top 100]
40...Venus Williams, USA (born June 17, 1980)
39...Serena Williams, USA (born September 8, 1981)
35...Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (born June 27, 1985)
34...Kirsten Flipkens, BEL (born January 1, 1986)
34...Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE (borN January 4, 1986)
34...Barbora Strycova, CZE (born March 28, 1986)
32...Angelique Kerber, GER (born January 18, 1988)
32...Laura Siegemund, GER (born March 4, 1988)
32...Mihaela Buzarnescu, ROU (born May 4, 1988)
32...Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP (born September 3, 1988)
31...Zhang Shuai, CHN (born January 21, 1989)
31...Victoria Azarenka, BLR (born July 31, 1989)
36...Samantha Stosur, AUS (born March 30, 1984)
36...Vera Zvonareva, RUS (born September 7, 1984)
35...Kaia Kanepi, EST (born June 10, 1985)
34...Mandy Minella, LUX (born November 22, 1985)
34...Peng Shuai, CHN (born January 8, 1986)
34...Pauline Parmentier, FRA (born January 31, 1986)
34...Varvara Lepchenko, USA (born April 21, 1986)
33...Sara Errani, ITA (born April 29, 1987)
33...Andrea Petkovic, GER (born September 9, 1987)
33...Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL (born September 13, 1987)
33...Monica Niculescu, ROU (born September 25, 1987)
33...Samantha Murray Sharan, GBR (born October 9, 1987)
33...Giulia Gatto-Monticone, ITA (born November 18, 1987)

Sometimes the Tennis Gods like to mess with people...

Danielle Collins (#31 to #45): a season ago, Collins put on a career best run to the Australian Open semifinals. The result hasn't sparked a huge rise on tour, though, as she's still yet to win a singles title or even reach a tour final (though, unlike in '19, she wasn't the *highest* ranked player without a crown -- she was the *second* highest). But '20 saw an uptick for Collins, at least on the court. In January, the Bannerette got wins over #5 Svitolina, #15 Kenin (pre-AO title) and #7 Bencic, but her 2nd Round loss in Melbourne dealt her a ranking points blow. With the shutdown, Collins didn't play again until August. At Roland Garros, she notched wins over #15 Garbine Muguruza, as well as a seeded Ons Jabeur, en route to her second career slam QF result. Still, she dropped fourteen spots in the season-ending standings, her lowest position since her first Top 100 year in '18.

Maria Sakkari (#23 to #22): the Greek posted her two best career slam results (4r at AO/US), reached a pair of semifinals (one pre-shutdown, one after), had three Top 10 wins, her Top 20 breakthrough (four weeks in March) and finished the Restart on an 11-4 run. But her lack of a singles final/title (she won her maiden crown in '19) likely prevented a bigger season-ending bump than the single-slot rise (#23 to #22) she settled for in the end.

Dasha Kasatkina (#69 to #71): the Russian didn't break out of her steep decline since her 2018 Top 10 campaign, but she *did* show flashes of her old self, especially on clay, in '20. Kasatkina recorded just one win in the three majors, but had a pre-shutdown semi in Lyon, her first on tour since winning Moscow in October '18, and was 8-3 after the U.S. Open, a stretch which included some sterling work in Rome before her tournament ended with a turned ankle. She'll enter '21 with a hint of encouragement, but her season-ending ranking slipped two spots at the close of '20.

Serena Williams (#10 to #11): granted, this one is stretching the TG-messing idea a tad, but Serena *did* win her first singles title (Auckland) since giving birth to Olympia. 2020 saw her season-ending ranking slip from #10 to #11 on the final weekend of play due to Aryna Sabalenka reaching (and later winning) the Linz final. The other side of the story, of course, is that this was Williams' first season without an appearance in a slam final since 2006, and just her second since 2000. She reached the U.S. semis, but didn't reach the Round of 16 in either of the other two majors.

The offshoot of it all *does* sort of have TG-like fingerprints all over it, as Sabalenka's swiping of the Top 10 finish means that Serena doesn't get the 17th such season in her Hall of Fame career. So rather than being just two away -- a legitimately reachable number, even as she turns 40 in '21 -- from matching Martina Navratilova's record of 19 Top 10 seasons in a career, she's now *three* away. Getting to 20 would mean she'd need *four* more Top 10 seasons. Both numbers *seem* unlikely, but we'll see.

2020 was Williams' second #11 finish, coming fifteen years after her first.

Meanwhile, sometimes a player gets the chance to mess with the Tennis Gods...

Svetlana Kuznetsova (#54 to #36): Sveta was mostly incognito in 2020 yet saw a surprising 18-spot leap in her season-ending ranking from the end of the '19 campaign. The Russian won just one slam match (AO), and reached no finals after having put together her remarkable Cincinnati runner-up result last year. She was just 2-3 in the Restart, and 4-6 otherwise on the season save for one event in Doha in February. There Kuznetsova won three matches (including over Swiatek and Bencic, the latter a Top 10 win) en route to the semifinals. She climbed 14 spots in the rankings the following Monday, and then the shutdown and all the rankings changes allowed her to essentially stick like glue in the general vicinity the remainder of the year.

And then there's Elina Svitolina...

A year ago, the Ukrainian didn't win a title for the first time since 2012, and didn't even play in a final until her last match of the season at the WTA Finals. But her first two career slam semifinals made '19 arguably her *best* season ever, though her season-ending ranking fell from #4 to #6.

In 2020, Svitolina got back on the title train with wins in Monterrey and Strasbourg, but didn't have the same slam success. She didn't make the trip to North America to play the U.S. Open, and posted 3rd Round (AO) and QF (RG) results in the two majors she did play. Also, Svitolina (who recorded six #1 wins between 2016-18) didn't record a single Top 10 victory for the first time since 2013. Still, with all the COVID/shutdown-related machinations in the rankings system, the Ukrainian season-ending ranking bumped up one spot to #5.

Not surprisingly, with so little movement in the '20 rankings, there are still two full sets of sisters in the final Top 100 (you can likely immediately name the pairs). In all, just as in '19, eight players with tennis playing siblings are present.

The Sisters Top 10:

#3 Naomi Osaka, JPN (Mari)
#6 Karolina Pliskova, CZE (Kristyna)
#11 Serena Williams, USA (Venus)
#46 Veronika Kudermetova, RUS (Polina)
#67 Hsieh Su-wei, TPE (Shu-Ying, brother Akon)
#68 Ajla Tomljanovic, AUS (Hana)
#69 Kristyna Pliskova, CZE (Karolina)
#78 Venus Williams, USA (Serena)
#121 Caty McNally, USA (brother John)
#132 Mayar Sherif, EGY (Rana)

The rest in the Top 300:

#139 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK (Kristina)
#147 Kristina Kucova, SVK (Zuzana)
#151 Caroline Dolehide, USA (Courtney)
#154 Usue Arconada, USA (brother Jordi)
#160 Whitney Osuigwe, USA (Victoria)
#168 Arina Rodionova, AUS (Anastasia)
#200 Lu Jia-jing, CHN (Jia-Xiang)
#283 Peangtarn Plipuech, THA (Plobrung)
#284 Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR (Alona)
#286 Urszula Radwanska, POL (Aga)
#292 Jessica Pieri, ITA (Tatiana)


[based on November 16 end-of-season 2020 WTA rankings]
39...Serena Williams (#11)
31...Victoria Azarenka (#13)
30...Petra Kvitova (#8)
29...Petra Martic (#18)
29...Johanna Konta (#14)
29...Simona Halep (#2)
28...Kiki Bertens (#9)
28...Karolina Pliskova (#6)
27...Garbine Muguruza (#15)
26...Elina Svitolina (#5)
25...Madison Keys (#16)
24...Elise Mertens (#20)
24...Ash Barty (#1)
23...Belinda Bencic (#12)
23...Naomi Osaka (#3)
22...Aryna Sabalenka (#10>
22...Sofia Kenin (#4)
21...Elena Rybakina (#19)
20...Bianca Andreescu (#7)
19...Iga Swiatek (#17)

3...USA (Kenin, Keys, S.Williams)
2...BLR (Azarenka,Sabalenka)
2...CZE (Kvitova, Ka.Pliskova)
1...AUS (Barty)
1...BEL (Mertens)
1...CAN (Andreescu)
1...CRO (Martic)
1...ESP (Muguruza)
1...GBR (Konta)
1...JPN (Osaka)
1...KAZ (Rybakina)
1...NED (Bertens)
1...POL (Swiatek)
1...ROU (Halep)
1...SUI (Bencic)
1...UKR (Svitolina)

2007 Victoria Azarenka, BLR - won first title in 2009
2008 Victoria Azarenka, BLR - 2009
2009 Alla Kudryavtseva, RUS - 2010
2010 Dominika Cibulkova, SVK - 2011
2011 Peng Shuai, CHN - 2016
2012 Varvara Lepchenko, USA
2013 Sloane Stephens, USA - 2015
2014 Peng Shuai, CHN - 2016
2015 Kristina Mladenovic, FRA - 2017
2016 Dasha Gavrilova, AUS - 2017
2017 Wang Qiang, CHN - 2018
2018 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
2019 Danielle Collins, USA
2020 Ons Jabeur, TUN
#31 Ons Jabeur, TUN
#45 Danielle Collins, USA*
#46 Veronika Kudermetova, RUS*
#47 Nadia Podorsoka, ARG*
*-also no tour-level finals
2020 newbies: 13 (since final '19 season rankings - November 4, 2019)
2019 newbies: 25
2018 newbies: 26
2017 newbies: 27
2016 newbies: 27
2015 newbies: 29
2014 newbies: 24
2013 newbies: 27
2012 newbies: 29
2011 newbies: 31
2010 newbies: 23
2009 newbies: 28
2008 newbies: 34
2007 newbies: 33
TOP 100 NEWBIES ('19 rank):
(* - first career Top 100 season)
#47 Nadia Podoroska, ARG (#255)*
#56 Patricia Maria Tig, ROU (#111)
#58 Shelby Rogers, USA (#174)
#65 Barbora Krejcikova, CZE (#135)*
#72 Nao Hibino, JPN (#102)
#73 Arantxa Rus, NED (#103)
#84 Martina Trevisan, ITA (#153)*
#88 Leylah Fernandez, CAN (#209)*
#92 Ana Bogdan, ROU (#129)
#93 Varvara Gracheva, RUS (#105)*
#95 Jasmine Paolini, ITA (#117)*
#97 Ann Li, USA (#148)*
#98 Marta Kostyuk, UKR (#155)*
0...Ash Barty (#1 to #1)
0...Naomi Osaka (#3 to #3)
0...Kiki Bertens (#9 to #9)
0...Alona Ostapenko (#44 to #44)
+1...Elina Svitolina (#6 to #5)
+1...Aryna Sabalenka (#11 to #10)
+1...Maria Sakkari (#23 to #22)
-1...Petra Kvitova (#7 to #8)
-1...Serena Williams (#10 to #11)
-1...Zarina Diyas (#78 to #79)
(w/ # in 2019)
18...United States (17)
9...Czech Republic (8)
8...Russia (9)
5...China (6)
5...Romania (3)
4...France (4)
4...Spain (4)
3...Belarus (3)
3...Belgium (3)
3...Italy (1)
3...Japan (2)
3...Kazakhstan (3)
3...Ukraine (4)
2...Australia (3)
2...Canada (1)
2...Croatia (2)
2...Germany (5)
2...Great Britain (2)
2...Latvia (2)
2...Netherlands (1)
2...Poland (2)
2...Slovenia (2)
2...Switzerland (3)
1...Argentina (0)
1...Estonia (1)
1...Greece (1)
1...Montenegro (1)
1...Serbia (1)
1...Slovakia (1)
1...Sweden (1)
1...Taiwan (1)
1...Tunisia (1)
2019 TOP 100, NONE in 2020: Denmark (1), Puerto Rico (1)
(by titles as of November 16, 2020)
4 titles - #358 Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
3 titles - #440 Maria Carle, ARG
3 titles - #326 Federica Di Sarra, ITA
3 titles - #47 Nadia Podoroska, ARG
3 titles - #324 Zheng Qinwen, CHN
TOTAL TITLES: 5 (4s/1d) - Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA

==EASTERN EUROPE (non-RUS/Baltics)==
#2 Simona Halep, ROU
#5 Elina Svitolina, UKR
#10 Aryna Sabalenka, BLR
#13 Victoria Azarenka, BLR
#29 Dayana Yastremska, UKR
#56 Patricia Maria Tig, ROU
#76 Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
#86 Sorana Cirstea, ROU
#90 Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
#92 Ana Bogdan, ROU
#98 Marta Kostyuk, UKR
#106 Kateryna Kozlova, UKR

#33 Ekaterina Alexandrova
#36 Svetlana Kuznetsova
#38 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
#46 Veronika Kudermetova
#60 Anna Blinkova
#71 Dasha Kasatkina
#93 Varvara Gracheva
#100 Anastasia Potapova
#114 Anna Kalinskaya
#124 Vitalia Diatchenko

#23 Anett Kontaveit, EST
#44 Alona Ostapenko, LAT
#54 Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
#101 Kaia Kanepi, EST
#263 Diana Marcinkevica, LAT
#506 Daniela Vismane, LAT
#564 Elena Malygina, EST
(LTU: #619 Justina Mikulskyte)

#6 Karolina Pliskova, CZE
#8 Petra Kvitova, CZE
#9 Kiki Bertens, NED
#12 Belinda Bencic, SUI
#14 Johanna Konta, GBR
#15 Garbine Muguruza, ESP
#17 Iga Swiatek, POL
#18 Petra Martic, CRO
#20 Elise Mertens, BEL
#21 Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
#25 Angelique Kerber, GER
#27 Karolina Muchova, CZE
#32 Donna Vekic, CRO
#37 Barbora Strycova, CZE
#40 Magda Linette, POL
#42 Fiona Ferro, FRA

#55 Rebecca Peterson, SWE
#152 Clara Tauson, DEN
#257 Ulrikke Eikeri, NOR
#313 Mirjam Bjorklund, SWE
#467 Melanie Stokke, NOR
#516 Oona Orpana, FIN
#531 Anastasia Kulikova, FIN
#537 Malene Helgo, NOR

#22 Maria Sakkari, GRE
#31 Ons Jabeur, TUN
#132 Mayar Sherif, EGY
#176 Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
#194 Mariam Bolkvadze, GEO
#212 Pemra Ozgen, TUR
#216 Ekaterine Gorgodze, GEO
#266 Valentini Grammatikopoulou, GRE
#277 Despina Papamichail, GRE
#295 Ipek Soylu, TUR

#1 Ash Barty, AUS
#3 Naomi Osaka, JPN
#19 Elena Rybakina, KAZ
#28 Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
#34 Wang Qiang, CHN
#35 Zhang Shuai, CHN
#41 Zheng Saisai, CHN
#67 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
#68 Ajla Tomljanovic, AUS
#72 Nao Hibino, JPN
#79 Zarina Diyas, KAZ
#82 Misaki Doi, JPN
#91 Zhu Lin, CHN
#94 Wang Yafan, CHN
(INDIA: #180 Ankita Raina)

#47 Nadia Podoroska, ARG
#174 Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
#186 Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, COL
#208 Daniela Seguel, CHI
#239 Gabriela Ce, BRA
#279 Paula Ormaechea, ARG
#358 Beatriz Haddad Maia, BRA
#380 Teliana Pereira, BRA
#391 Laura Pigossi, BRA
#396 Thaisa Grana Pedretti, BRA
#405 Carolina Alves, BRA
#435 Barbara Gatica, CHI
#440 Maria Carle, ARG
#453 Victoria Bosio, ARG
#465 Paula Cristina Goncalves, BRA
#493 Emiliana Arango, COL
#494 Ingrid Gamarra Martins, BRA
#497 Andrea Gamiz, VEN
(CENTRAL AMERICA: #751 Andrea Weedon, GUA)

#4 Sofia Kenin, USA
#11 Serena Williams, USA
#16 Madison Keys, USA
#24 Jennifer Brady, USA
#26 Alison Riske, USA
#30 Amanda Anisimova, USA
#39 Sloane Stephens, USA
#45 Danielle Collins, USA
#48 Coco Gauff, USA
#58 Shelby Rogers, USA
#61 Bernarda Pera, USA
#62 Jessica Pegula, USA
#74 Lauren Davis, USA
#78 Venus Williams, USA

#7 Bianca Andreescu, CAN
#105 Monica Puig, PUR
#88 Leylah Fernandez, CAN
#141 Genie Bouchard, CAN
#142 Renata Zarazua, MEX
#270 Katherine Sebov, CAN
#277 Marcela Zacarias, MEX
#306 Francoise Abanda, CAN
#311 Rebecca Marino, CAN
#317 Ana Sofia Sanchez, MEX

=end of '19 to end of '20 season=
[in 2020 Top 25]
+44...Iga Swiatek (#61 to #17)
+37...Victoria Azarenka (#50 to #13)
+32...Jennifer Brady (#56 to #24)
+21...Garbine Muguruza (#36 to #15)
+18...Elena Rybakina (#37 to #19)
+10...Sofia Kenin (#14 to #4)

[2020 Top 26-50]
+208...Nadia Podoroska (#255 to #47)
+46...Ons Jabeur (#77 to #31)
+23...Laura Siegemund (#73 to #50)
+21...Fiona Ferro (#63 to #42)
+20...Coco Gauff (#68 to #48)
+18...Svetlana Kuznetsova (#54 to #36)
+11...Zhang Shuai (#46 to #35)

[2020 Top 51-100]
+121...Leylah Fernandez (#209 to #88)
+116...Shelby Rogers (#174 to #58)
+70...Barbora Krejcikova (#135 to #65)
+69...Martina Trevisan (#153 to #84)
+57...Marta Kostyuk (#155 to #98)
+55...Patricia Maria Tig (#111 to #56)
+51...Ann Li (#148 to #97)
+37...Ana Bogdan (#129 to #92)
+33...Heather Watson (#92 to #59)
+30...Nao Hibino (#102 to #72)
+30...Arantxa Rus (#103 to #73)
+27...Paula Badosa (#97 to #70)
+23...Irina Camelia Begu (#99 to #76)
+23...Camila Giorgi (#98 to #75)
+22...Jasmine Paolini (#117 to #95)

=end of '19 to end of '20 season=
[2019 Top 25]
retired - #28 Julia Goerges
retired - #38 Caroline Wozniacki
-14...Sloane Stephens (#25 to #39)
-13...Donna Vekic (#19 to #32)
-7...Alison Riske (#18 to #25)
-7...Dayana Yastremska (#22 to #29)
-6...Karolina Muchova (#21 to #27)
-6...Amanda Anisimova (#24 to #30)
-5...Marketa Vondrousova (#16 to #21)
-5...Angelique Kerber (#20 to #25)

[2019 Top 26-50]
-46...Wang Yafan (#48 to #94)
-35...Hsieh Su-wei (#32 to #67)
-27...Anastasija Sevastova (#27 to #54)
-16...Alison Van Uytvanck (#47 to #63)
-14...Danielle Collins (#31 to #45)
-12...Rebecca Peterson (#43 to #55)
-9...Kristina Mladenovic (#40 to #49)
-8...Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (#30 to #38)

[2019 Top 51-100]
-76...Lesia Tsurenko (#70 to #146)
-56...Viktorija Golubic (#81 to #137)
-44...Viktoria Kuzmova (#52 to #96)
-42...Peng Shuai (#75 to #117)
-38...Margarita Gasparyan (#87 to #125)
-28...Carla Suarez Navarro (#55 to #83)
-25...Venus Williams (#53 to #78)
-25...Monica Puig (#80 to #105)
-23...Tamara Zidansek (#64 to #87)
-23...Aliaksandra Sasnovich (#67 to #90)
-23...Andrea Petkovic (#79 to #102)
-19...Tatjana Maria (#90 to #109)


(w/ # in 2019)
19..United States (18)
8...China (8)
8...Czech Republic (9)
6...Australia (5)
6...Japan (6)
4...Belarus (4)
4...Russia (8)
4...Slovenia (3?)
4...Spain (4)
3...Belgium (3)
3...Germany (3)
3...Netherlands (1)
3...Romania (4)
3...Taiwan (3)
3...Ukraine (3)
2...Canada (2)
2...Hungary (2)
2...Poland (1)
2...Serbia (1)
1...Brazil (1)
1...Chile (1)
1...Croatia (1)
1...France (1)
1...Georgia (1)
1...Kazakhstan (1)
1...Latvia (1)
1...Mexico (1)
1...Slovakia (1)
1...Sweden (2)
1...Switzerland (1)
2019 TOP 100, NONE in 2020: none

[by nation]
4...CZE (#2 Strycova, #7 Krejcikova, #8 Siniakova, #17 Peschke)
3...TPE (#1 Hsieh, #15 L.Chan, #15 H.Chan)
2...CHN (#9 Xu, #18 Duan)
2...USA (#11 Melichar, #20 Mattek-Sands)
1...AUS (#14 Barty)
1...BLR (#5 Sabalenka)
1...BEL (#6 Mertens)
1...CAN (#10 Dabrowski)
1...FRA (#3 Mladenovic)
1...GER (#13 Groenefeld)
1...HUN (#4 Babos)
1...LAT (#19 Ostapenko)
1...NED (#12 Schuurs)
45 - Kveta Peschke
35 - Bethanie Mattek-Sands
35 - Anna-Lena Groenefeld
34 - Hsieh Su-wei
34 - Barbora Strycova
32 - Xu Yifan
31 - Duan Yingying
31 - Latisha Chan
28 - Gaby Dabrowski
27 - Timea Babos
27 - Kristina Mladenovic
27 - Nicole Melichar
27 - Demi Schuurs
27 - Chan Hao-ching
24 - Elise Mertens
24 - Barbora Krejcikova
24 - Ash Barty
24 - Katerina Siniakova
23 - Alona Ostapenko
22 - Aryna Sabalenka

16 - Coco Gauff
18 - Caty McNally
19 - Iga Swiatek
20 - Dayana Yastremska
45 - Kveta Peschke
39 - Katarina Srebotnik
38 - Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
37 - Raquel Atawo
37 - Monique Adamczak
37 - Galina Voskoboeva

(singles/doubles ranks)
=TOP 10 IN BOTH (1)=
Aryna Sabalenka (#10 singles, #5 doubles)
=TOP 20 IN BOTH (+2)=
Ash Barty (#1 singles, #14 doubles)
Elise Mertens (#20 singles, #6 doubles)
=TOP 50 IN BOTH (+10)=
Sofia Kenin (#4 singles, #34 doubles)
Victoria Azarenka (#13 singles, #21 doubles)
Zhang Shuai (#35 singles, #27 doubles)
Barbora Strycova (#37 singles, #2 doubles)
Zheng Saisai (#41 singles, #28 doubles)
Alona Ostapenko (#44 singles, #19 doubles)
Veronika Kudermetova (#46 singles, #24 doubles)
Coco Gauff (#48 singles, #45 doubles)
Kristina Mladenovic (#49 singles, #3 doubles)
Laura Siegemund (#50 singles, #41 doubles)

BRAZIL (1): #33 Luisa Stefani
CHILE (1): #26 Alexa Guarachi
GEORGIA (1): #63 Oksana Kalashnikova
HUNGARY (2): #3 Timea Babos, #95 Fanny Stollar
MEXICO (1): #61 Giuliana Olmos
[high-ranking singles player]
BRAZIL: #239 Gabriela Ce
CHILE: #208 Daniela Seguel
GEORGIA: #194 Mariam Bolkvadze
HUNGARY: #115 Timea Babos
MEXICO: #142 Renata Zarazua

So... whew!


Hopefully, I didn't flub up any numbers or other notes after all that transcribing...

(Crossing fingers)

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

All for now.


Blogger colt13 said...

The ATP has the finals, the WTA has....crickets. In truth WTA didn't need a finals this year, but is letting the ATP suck up all of the press.

So your pic has the 1st team on top, and the 2nd on the bottom.

Probably will be less teens make the jump next year because they may have less opportunity to play. Kostyuk made it with a late run.

Rybarikova took her name off the rankings.

If Sabalenka wins 2 more titles, do you use her instead of AMG?

2020 Race Rankings- Kenin, Osaka, Halep, Azarenka, Swiatek, Sabalenka, Kvitova, Muguruza, Mertens, Rybakina.

Stat of the Week- 3 - The amount of non Australian events to open 1976.

For 2021, I am open to thinking outside of the box. Since 1990, even with Shenzhen type events, either Australia or New Zealand has opened the season. With AO seeming likely to be moved back, let's take a look back at the past.

In 1976, the season opened in November in Palm Springs, then London and Johannesburg, then went to Australia for 4 events, culminating with the Open the first week of January.

1980-86 had the US Virginia Slims carpet events open up the season, as Australia ended the season those years.

Even Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo opened up the season in 1987-88.

So what about 2021? The vaccine is coming, though the fact that these are high caliber athletes means that they will be later to get it than healthcare workers and politicians looking out for themselves.

Did I say that? I did, and I stand by it. Because this is expected mid year, instead of 55 events, of which we got half, maybe we get 40, but backloaded.

So where does the season start? Doha? Dubai? Cologne? Cologne is a joke, used to point out that the ATP patched together two events there because the WTA never got back to them about holding one of each.

The NBA did something different for 2020-21 season in only releasing half of the schedule. Don't be surprised if the WTA does it in 2-3 month chunks until the vaccine is widespread.

Czech Republic- we need you.

Quiz Time!

Serena Williams has reached 98 WTA finals. And with a full season for her, could reach 100 in 2021. How many of the 2020 Year End Top 10 have played 98 or more WTA main draws?



Serena dropped to #11, but still managed to win a title and add to a staggering total of finals.

One answer is obviously wrong, and that is (B)1. I put that because it is obvious that Andreescu has not. In fact, her 13 MD are even less than Swiatek.

(A)7 is out, though that is the number if you took out the most obvious in Kvitova, Halep and Pliskova. Kvitova leads with 221, which is more than the bottom 4 combined- Andreescu, Kenin(52), Sabalenka(62), Barty(70).

The correct answer is (C)5, as Osaka only is at 80.

The mild surprise? Even after continually saying that Bertens overplays, the fact that she only has 2 less events than Pliskova(173) surprised me. That still puts Kiki 6 up on Svitolina(165).

Sat Nov 21, 05:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Oh, is the ATP still playing? ;)

(Truthfully, though, I haven't watched a single point. And since it's not Djokovic/Nadal in the final, I won't today, either. So more of that Cincinnati-Washington FT tilt for me.)

Yeah, I didn't specifically designate that in the All-Rankings photo, but I've done that for at least the last few years, I think.

Though I don't know how it compares to past years, there *were* four 20-year olds in the Top 100, too. Gracheva, at least, stopped being a teen fairly late in the year. So there's one more than *almost* was included. There are seven 19-year olds between #101-200, and only three other teens there, so the majority of those won't add to the 2021 Top 100 list, either.

Mertens, though title-less (in WS), had maybe the most underrated season of 2020. She led the tour in match wins, had the most on HC, third-most on clay. Top 10 doubles, Top 20 singles. A slam QF and 4th Rd.

It looks like Tennis Australia *is* looking to hold multiple events on the Melbourne site to cut down on travel/quarantine, so that'd be a really good move. But the talks with the Victorian government seem to be the major stumbling block to anything resembling a "usual" start date. We'll see, I guess.

Quiz: I looked at the Top 10 and counted them off, and came up with five being the most probable. Yes!

You know, I hadn't thought about that, but Sabalenka *is* getting really close to AMG territory on that. Gotta think she'll get a QF soon, though... but maybe not before double-digit titles. Hmmm.

Sun Nov 22, 10:58:00 AM EST  
Blogger Diane said...

Abandoning the ATP (except for a few players) has been liberating for me. I have no desire to watch Djokovic, Nadal, Medvedev, Theim, or Zverev, thanks to their sexism, racism, narcissism, apparent violence, and general idiocy. I can watch Tsitsipas if he keeps his mouth shut. I’ll always watch Roger, and I enjoy Kei and Karen and Big Foe. But talent just isn’t enough for me. Of course, the WTA is full of cowards, but at least they aren’t (usually) blatantly (or “casually”) offensive.

Sun Nov 22, 11:44:00 AM EST  

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