RTS Update: Power Shift After Week 2
Published January 12, 2014 12:14
The second leg of the season-long Road To Singapore took place in Sydney and Hobart last week, with two qualifiers coming out on top - and one of them now topping the Road To Singapore standings.
Tsvetana Pironkova had a rough 2013 - she finished the year No.108, her first non-Top 100 finish since 2004. And after falling in the qualifying of Shenzhen in Week 1 to a player ranked No.196, things didn't look so smooth for 2014 - but she changed all of that in Sydney, coming through the qualies there and making it all the way to her first WTA title, beating three Top 10 players in the last three rounds.
Before Sydney she had never passed the semifinal stage - she was 0-7 lifetime in WTA semifinals.
"Before this week, when I'd reach the quarters or semis, I would be like, 'Okay, I'm so deep in the tournament, so what now?' It was so unfamiliar for me," Pironkova said. "But with the seasons going by, I guess I just learned how to take things. So I'm really proud of myself for winning this tournament.
"Especially since I not only went to the semifinal and final, but I actually won it."
Pironkova now sits atop the Road To Singapore standings - does she think she can keep it up all year?
"After last year, I discovered you just have to live every moment," the Bulgarian commented. "Now I won the title. I'm not going to take it for granted. I'm going to be happy for as much as I can. I'm going to enjoy this moment as much as I can and take everything from it that I can. It can only give me good things. Now I know that I'm capable of beating everyone. I'm just going to try to repeat it."
Though she didn't come away with the title, Angelique Kerber - who lost to Pironkova in the final - has had a very strong first two weeks of the year herself. She reached the quarterfinals of Brisbane and now a final in Sydney - she jumped up to No.3 in the Road To Singapore standings by virtue of it all.
"For sure I can take positive things from the last two weeks," the German said. "I've had so many good matches before Melbourne now, which was my goal, so now I really feel ready for the Australian Open.
"I'm feeling good, fit and healthy, which is the most important thing right now."
Also moving into the Top 5 of the standings was Garbiñe Muguruza, the other qualifier who won her first WTA title this week, over in Hobart. The Spaniard just returned from ankle surgery two weeks ago.