By: Nicholas Nemeroff
Each Sunday, we will provide weekly power rankings for the ATP and WTA. These power rankings will include a Top and Bottom Three.
We’ll start with the WTA, where the majority of the action took place this past week.
WTA TOP THREE
1. Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic won the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. It was Ivanovic’s fourth crown of 2014 and her second victory at a WTA Premier event this year. With her victory, Ivanovic joins Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as the only players with multiple Premier event wins in 2014– a laudable accomplishment to say the least. Ivanovic stormed through the week, winning all four her matches in straight sets, beating Victoria Azarenka, Lucie Safarova, Angelique Kerber and the red hot Caroline Wozniacki along the way. Ivanovic will look to continue her run of good form in the inaugural Premier 5 event in Wuhan next week.
2. Vavara Lepchenko
Despite not winning a title, it was a huge week for my fellow-Pennsylvanian, Vavara Lepchenko. Lepchenko reached her first WTA final in Seoul before losing to Czech Karolina Pliskova in three sets. At 28-years-old, Lepchenko is proving that age is really just a number and that she still has what it takes to obtain big results.
3. Monica Niculescu
Monica Niculescu’s forehand is one of the most unique shots in all of tennis. For those unaware, Niculescu hits underspin on nearly every forehand. The modern game is predicated off topspin, providing the Romanian with a special advantage during matches. Opponents are not used to the trajectory and speed of her shots and as a result, have to make uncomfortable adjustments. In Guangzhou, Niculescu not only won her second career WTA title, but she did so only dropping 13 games the entire tournament.
WTA BOTTOM THREE
3. Sabine Lisicki
After winning in Hong Kong just over a week ago, Sabine Lisicki was unable to continue her great run of form in Tokyo. Lisicki was taken out in the first round by Australian Casey Dellacqua, an opponent one would expect the German to outgun if in form.
2. Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens also saw the exits in the first round in Guangzhou. Stephens was shown the door by Silvia Soler-Espinosa. Soler-Espinosa had only won four WTA main draw hard court matches in 2014 prior to her victory over Stephens. Stephens will need to make up for her underwhelming performances at the four majors as the season wraps up.
1. Samantha Stosur
Samantha Stosur began her Asian swing in the worst possible way, losing to Chinese wildcard Yafan Wang in the first round in Guangzhou. Stosur has had a rough 2014 having only reaching two WTA semifinals. She’ll hope to reverse her fortunes in Wuhan where she starts off with Seoul champion Karolina Pliskova.
ATP TOP THREE
1. David Goffin
The winner of the only ATP event this week, Goffin tops the list here. The 23-year-old Belgian pulled off one of the biggest victories of his career on Friday in Metz, beating World No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three sets. Goffin’s win over Tsonga was particularly impressive when considering that he lost the opening set 6-1. Goffin’s win in Metz is the second title of his year and also the second of his career.
2. Joao Sousa
Despite losing in the final, Joao Sousa had a week to be proud of. The top ranked player from Portugal reached his second ATP tour level final of 2014 this week, scoring an impactful win over home favorite Gael Monfils. Sousa also won two airtight matches in his second and third matches of the week, beating Igor Sijsling and Paul-Henri Mathieu in third set tiebreakers respectively.
3. Michal Przysiezny
Huge props to Michal Przysiezny for winning three qualifying matches in Metz and then snapping his 18 match tour level losing streak by beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 in the third set.
ATP BOTTOM THREE
3. Nicolas Mahut
Nicolas Mahut entered Metz having just won the challenger event in St. Remy. Mahut has really struggled to find any type of consistency in his results and continued this trend in Metz, where he lost to fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in the opening round.
2. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s U.S. Open did not go the way he most likely envisioned it turning out. Unable to replicate his level of play from Toronto, the Frenchman self-destructed in the fourth round in New York City against Andy Murray, losing in straight sets. Tsonga, who still has a very remote chance of reaching the World Tour Finals in London, did himself no favors after falling to David Goffin in the Metz quarterfinals. After winning the first set 6-1, Tsonga failed to put the dagger in his Belgian nemesis and ended up losing 7-5 in the third set.
1. Gael Monfils
Having reached the semifinals of Metz, Gael Monfils looked prime to score a fulfilling victory in front of his home crowd. Less than 90 minutes later, Monfils had lost to heavy underdog Joao Sousa 7-6 6-2. These types of matches are the ones that have puzzled anyone who has followed Monfils over the years. As far as Monfils is concerned, high expectations often lead to disappointment.