WTA 1st Quarter Power Rankings

Bianca Andreescu tops the WTA Power Rankings

With the WTA season now well underway, if on a potentially indefinite hiatus due to the outbreaks of coronavirus across the world, it seemed an appropriate time to look back at how the tour’s leading lights had started their 2020 campaigns. So, using predominantly their performances in the first seven tournaments of the year but also their past form and current ranking-point hauls, here are the leaders in Last Word On Tennis’ first quarter WTA power rankings:

WTA Player Power Rankings

16 – Alison Riske

Alison Riske made an excellent start to the year, reaching the quarters in Brisbane and following that up with a fourth-round showing at Melbourne Park. Her form has rather tailed off since, with first round losses in Dubai and Doha, but she faced tough draws at both events. Nonetheless, after a strong 2019 season, which saw her reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and break into the top 20, she should have the confidence to get back to winning ways, although she faces stern competition for a place in the US team at the Tokyo Olympics.
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15 – Jennifer Brady

Amongst her competitors for one of those spots is none other than Jennifer Brady. The American lost back-to-back first-round matches at the Australian Open and in St Petersburg, but otherwise has impressed so far in 2020. She reached the last eight in Brisbane and the semifinals in Dubai, picking up some big wins along the way, including over Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina and world #1 Ashleigh Barty. She has been harnessing her power to good effect, particularly on the bigger stages, and at world #48, she is invariably a dangerous floater in any draw.
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14 – Ons Jabeur

The Tunisian has made a blinding start to the season. After starting in Shenzhen ranked 81st in the world, she has already climbed to world #39. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, scoring notably victories over Johanna Konta, Caroline Wozniacki, in the Dane’s final professional match, and Wang Qiang. She backed that up with another quarterfinal showing in Qatar, where she beat Alison Riske and Karolina Pliskova. And there looks likely to be more to come from Jabeur, who is certainly one to watch this season.
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13 – Elina Svitolina.

Elina, Elina, Elina. After a career-best season in 2019, where she reached semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open, Svitolina has struggled to get going in 2020. She did win the title in Monterrey, but the highest-ranked player she faced in Mexico was world #47 Marie Bouzkova in the final and that proved to be far from a straightforward day at the office for the Ukrainian. Indeed, her best result of the season probably remains her third-round showing at the Australian Open and she won just three games there in defeat to eventual finalist Muguruza. Still, as the world #6 she deserves respect, even if out of form.
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12 – Aryna Sabalenka

Aryna Sabalenka may not be one of the WTA Tour’s most consistent performers, but she is making first serves and striking the ball well she can beat just about anyone. Her form at the Majors does still leave much to be desired, with her first-round loss at the Australian Open to the soon-to-retire Carla Suarez Navarro particularly disappointing. But she also stormed to the title at the Qatar Open, overcoming a strong field to do so. If she can finally address her inconsistency, don’t be surprised to see her break into the top five.
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11 – Petra Kvitova

Kvitova does not always get the credit she deserves for her longevity as a force at the top of the women’s game. After all, she is the only woman in the top 20 over the age of 30 other than Serena Williams. That is not bad company to find oneself in, although the fact that she has not won a Grand Slam title since 2014 will surely be a source of real frustration. But she has been consistent so far, if not at her very best, reaching the last four in Brisbane, the quarters at Melbourne Park and the final in Qatar. A big week could be close for the Czech.
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10 – Garbine Muguruza

After a dismal 2019, few could have foreseen the start that Muguruza has made in 2020. But the Spaniard is a two-time Grand Slam champion for a reason and as the old saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent. She began her season by making the semifinals and quarterfinals in Shenzhen and Hobart respectively, before reaching her first Major final since 2017 at the Australian Open, where she lost narrowly to Sofia Kenin. In her last outing, she made the quarterfinals in Dubai, suggesting a renewed consistency from the Spaniard. But she still has much to prove heading into the remainder of the season.
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9 – Kiki Bertens

It’s difficult to make an assessment of Kiki Bertens. She has played some good tennis in 2020, with the highlight of her year so far her run to the title at the St Petersburg Open. But she hasn’t been past the fourth round at a Major since 2018 at Wimbledon and her record against top-ten opposition is a cause for concern. She has proven that she can win at Premier-level, but aside from at the French Open, it is hard to envisage her posing a serious threat at any of the Grand Slams.
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8 – Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina start to the year has not come completely out of nowhere, but it has certainly been surprising. The Kazakh, who was ranked someway outside the top 150 at the start of last year, has already reached four finals this season, winning the title at the Hobart International, beating a host of top-tier opponents along the way. She may even have a claim to a higher spot on this list and is possibly even a dark horse to win a Major this season, with her best shot likely at Roland Garros or the US Open.
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7 – Karolina Pliskova

Since making her breakthrough at the 2016 US Open, where she reached the final, Pliskova has been a consistent presence in the world’s top ten, even ascending to the pinnacle of the rankings. She’s won tournaments on a regular basis, across all three surfaces. But she has not yet won a Major or indeed reached a second final at the highest-level. That pattern has continued so far in 2020, with Pliskova making a superb start to the year in Brisbane, before slumping to a third-round loss in Melbourne. The talent is there for her to win a Slam, but increasingly one has to wonder if the mentality and game plan are.
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6 – Simona Halep

Two years ago, Simona Halep looked to be in danger of joining the list of superbly talented WTA players who never managed to get across the line. But the Romanian edged out Sloane Stephens to finally claim a Major title at Roland Garros in 2018 and she backed that up with a superb performance in the final at Wimbledon to add to her Major tally. She is still rarely the outright favourite at a Grand Slam, but a favourable draw is likely all she needs to capture a third crown at one of the sport’s biggest tournaments.
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5 – Ashleigh Barty

You might be tempted to ask why the player ranked #1 in the world is fifth on the power rankings list. And the simple answer to that question is her continued struggles to beat the very best in the game. She has made a fine start to the year, winning the Adelaide International before reaching back-to-back semifinals at the Australian Open and in Doha. But it remains notable that she didn’t beat a top ten player en route to the French Open title, her only Major triumph thus far. Until she proves that she can beat the very best on the biggest stage, a question mark over place amongst the elite will remain.
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4 – Naomi Osaka

After a good start to the year at the Brisbane International, where she reached the semifinals, Naomi Osaka fell short at Melbourne Park, losing to the prodigy Coco Gauff in the third round. That being said, in the past year, the Japanese has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with and has dealt with her fair share of adversity impressively enough to suggest she’ll bounce back sooner rather than later. Expect her to remain a contender for the biggest titles throughout the year, save perhaps during the clay-court swing.
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3 – Serena Williams

It might be contended that anywhere below top of this list is below par for Serena Williams, arguably the greatest player of all time. But the American is perhaps not the player she once was, with the greatest of all foes, time, threatening to overtake her. And that is without even factoring the considerable depth of talent currently plying their trade on the WTA Tour, including a number of fast rising young stars. Which begs the question: does Williams still have it in her to surpass Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles? That is still unclear, but if anyone can it is surely the great Williams who will.
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2 – Sofia Kenin

It’s been clear for sometime that, if nothing else, Sofia Kenin has a remarkable will to win tennis matches. That fighting spirit may well have put her further along her development curve than was expected and she is now a Grand Slam champion at just 21 years of age after her triumph at the Australian Open. Of course, that has not seen her become a dominant force overnight, with Kenin suffering back-to-back losses in Dubai and Doha. But she rallied from those disappointments to win the Lyon Open and the future is looking exceptionally bright for the young gun.
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1 – Bianca Andreescu

It may not be immediately obvious why Bianca Andreescu, who has not yet played a match in 2020 is top of the first quarter power rankings. But the Canadian lost just one completed match in 2019, which should provide the answer to that question. And if Andreescu can rediscover that form when she returns from the knee injury that has sidelined her so far in 2020, it suffices to say that she will take some stopping.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The ranking you as editors chose doesn’t match any facts as far as the first quarter of 2020 is concerned. Why do you seek an excuse to put Serena, Andreescu and Osaka (who consume nearly all the sponsor money that is involved and are in my opinion one big flop) into the light ? Maybe you consider them as potential winners, that’s alright, but to put them ahead of Kenin (two tournaments), Barty (one tournament), Pliskova (one tournament), Halep (one tournament), Bertens (one tournament) and Rybakina (newcomer of the year) makes me think I lack imagination these days.

    • Just to clarify, the editorial team did not put together these rankings, it’s solely the work of the author of this piece.

  2. I agree with Maarten. Hardly any reasoning as to how three players (Williams, Osaka, and Andreescu) are above players who have performed more consistently in this first quarter. Naomi is somehow above Barty all while having made no discernable consistent form. Andreescu hasn’t even played this year, that’s crazy! And yet she’s number one, kinda seems biased here.

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