Naomi Osaka's recent trailblazing ways have hit a new milestone this week - for both herself and her country.
The 20-year-old's semifinal showing in Beijing last week, her third consecutive appearance in the last four of a tournament, has propelled her to a Top 5 debut - just a month after her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open had seen her crack the Top 10 for the first time.
Osaka's new career high of World No.4 also means that she becomes the second Japanese woman ever to reach the Top 5 - and in so doing, she equals the best ever ranking set by a Japanese player. Kimiko Date first hit that spot in November 1995 after a year in which she had won the Toray Pan Pacific Open and reached the Miami final, Roland Garros semifinals and Wimbledon quarterfinals, and she would spend 11 weeks in total inside the Top 5.
Osaka revealed last week that she had talked to Date about the latter's career high at Roland Garros this year - but had not envisaged equalling it herself so soon. Nonetheless, the US Open and Indian Wells champion has no intention of resting on her laurels, telling reporters in Beijing that she still feels as though she has more to prove. Having withdrawn from this week's Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open with a back injury, Osaka will next get the chance to do that - and potentially to exceed Date's career high - in her debut appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Here are some of this week's most notable ranking movers:
Naomi Osaka (+2, 6 to 4): Last year, a lean Asian swing for Osaka saw the Japanese No.1 win just two of her last seven matches of 2017, seeing her ranking slip over the course of the season from No.40 to a year-end position of No.68. This year has seen her rebound magnificently. A third-round showing at the Australian Open and a quarterfinal in Dubai boosted her back into the Top 50; a maiden title in Indian Wells rocketed her to the edge of the Top 20; her spectacular title run at the US Open would see her gatecrash the Top 10; and now, having backed it up with a final in Tokyo and semifinal in Beijing, the 20-year-old has officially become the joint highest ranked player in Japanese history.
Kiki Bertens (+1, 11 to 10): Another national milestone in this week's Top 10 comes courtesy of the Cincinnati and Seoul champion, whose third-round showing in Beijing was sufficient to see her break this tier for the first time. Bertens is the first Dutchwoman to be ranked in the Top 10 since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy in November 1996, and just the third overall after Schultz-McCarthy, who reached a career high of World No.9 in May 1996, and Betty Stove, the 1977 Wimbledon runner-up who hit World No.5 in July that year.
Aryna Sabalenka (+5, 16 to 11): The Belarusian is still one week away from celebrating her one-year anniversary inside the Top 100 - she broke that barrier with a maiden WTA final run in Tianjin last year - but already finds herself at a new career high on the brink of the Top 10. The New Haven and Wuhan champion reached the Beijing quarterfinals last week, defeating Garbiñe Muguruza en route, and still has a mathematical chance of debuting at this year's WTA Finals.
Anastasija Sevastova (+8, 20 to 12): Every year since Sevastova came out of retirement in 2015, the Latvian has exceeded her previous accomplishments. In 2016, she raised her ranking from No.110 to No.35 thanks to her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open; the following year, she repeated that feat and put together a 37-24 win-loss record to end the season at No.16. In 2018, the 28-year-old has gone 39-19 in main draws so far - including the biggest final of her career in Beijing last week, which has boosted her up to a new career high of No.12.
Wang Qiang (+4, 28 to 24): One of the most in-form players of the second half of the year, Wang has been thriving in Asia recently: since the start of August, the 26-year-old has won her first two titles, in Nanchang and Guangzhou; captured the gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta; and put together back-to-back semifinal showings in Wuhan and Beijing over the past fortnight. Her crowd-pleasing exploits have led to a fifth consecutive career-high ranking in as many weeks - and the Chinese No.1 is now also the fourth highest ranked player from her country ever, behind only Li Na, Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai.
Katerina Siniakova (+7, 40 to 33): The Australian Open junior finalist in 2013, Siniakova is having a career-best season in the pros this year. Back-to-back quarterfinal runs out of qualifying in Wuhan and Beijing demonstrated that the Czech, who has been capable of flashes of brilliant form ever since she broke through to the Tour, is now finding the consistency to go with it. Consequently, she has now hit a brand new career high ranking.
Ons Jabeur (+16, 116 to 100): Having become the second Tunisian woman to break the Top 100 last year, Jabeur was initially unable to sustain her rise in 2018. Losing nine of her first ten matches, the 24-year-old had sunk to No.180 by June. But her rebound has been emphatic: since then, Jabeur's record is 19-9, and she received a boost last week when World No.1 Simona Halep was forced to retire from their first-round match in Beijing while trailing by a set. Jabeur returns to the Top 100 for the first time since January with the result - and can now look forward to half a year with almost no points to defend, with her career high of No.83 within touching distance.