The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. This week, WTA Insider looks back at the Agel Open, where Barbora Krejcikova continued her winning streak, and the Jasmin Open, where Elise Mertens took home her first title of the year.
Performance of the Week: Barbora Krejcikova
It seemed like only a matter of time before Barbora Krejcikova would find her form again. She dominated this year's doubles circuit with partner Katerina Siniakova. Together they won three of four Grand Slams, but in singles, Krejcikova had been pretty quiet the past few months.
That is until now.
Krejcikova won her ninth straight match and her second straight title, at the Agel Open in Ostrava, overcoming top-ranked Iga Swiatek on Sunday in a 3-hour, 16-minute final. It was the first time in her career Krejcikova defeated a current World No.1.
A year ago, Krejcikova won her first singles major, at Roland Garros, and then rose to No.2 in the world this past February. But Krejcikova had an elbow injury that took her out of action for part of this season.
Krejcikova has nearly halved her ranking over the past two weeks, from No.27 to No.14.
Before Sunday, Swiatek had won her past 10 finals, with her only loss coming to Polona Hercog in her first final, in 2019. But Krejcikova came back from a set down to win her fifth career singles title.
"I always felt like it's there, it's just hiding," Krejcikova told WTA Insider about her level of play. "I didn't just forget all that I did last year. I still felt like it's there. ... I'm really happy to be part of the big game again."
Breakthrough of the Week: Alycia Parks
Coming into Ostrava, Parks had won only three main-draw matches on the Hologic WTA Tour and none of those on hard court. Ranked No.144 and unseeded in qualifying, Parks had a hard road ahead of her if she wanted to make a statement at the Agel Open.
But the 21-year-old took the opportunity and ran with it, making it all the way to her first WTA quarterfinal. Along the way, the American knocked out Karolina Pliskova for her first Top 20 win, then stunned Maria Sakkari for her first win against a Top 10 player.
Parks even held a set point against Krejcikova in the quarterfinals before the eventual champion ended her run. Despite getting ousted in the elite eight, Parks impressed with her bold play, especially her serving. Parks averaged nine aces in her three main-draw matches.
Parks credited her father for her effective serve, saying "he always gave me a rhythm, kind of like dance, one-two. So that always stuck in the back of my mind."
The week ended with Parks winning her first WTA title, as she captured the doubles crown alongside another young American who also had a big week in singles, Caty McNally. If Parks can bottle this level and bring it consistently, she will be one to watch out for in 2023.
Parks rose 23 spots in the rankings to No.121.
Quote of the Week
Like Krejcikova, Elise Mertens had a challenging year in singles despite success on the doubles court. She slid from the Top 20 in January to No.42 at the start of last week, and she reached only two quarterfinals in 2022, losing both.
But at the inaugural Jasmin Open in Monastir, the first tour event to take place in Tunisia, the Belgian saw things snap back into place. Mertens got better as the week progressed, dropping only six games in the semifinals and the final combined.
Mertens finished the event with her seventh career singles title, proving October is as fine a time as any to start the year.
Biggest rankings movements among Top 100
--Tamara Zidansek returns to the Top 100, moving up 13 spots after reaching the quarterfinals in Monastir.
--Claire Liu reaches a career-high ranking of No.64 (+9 spots from last week) after reaching her second career semifinal last week in Monastir.
--Barbora Krejcikova also moves up nine spots, to No. 14, after winning her second title of 2022.
Number of the Week: 60
Yes, Iga Swiatek's impermeable streak in finals finally came to an end. But you can't win 'em all -- and she has done plenty of winning this year.
With her semifinal win against Ekaterina Alexandrova in Ostrava, Swiatek won her 60th match-win of the season. She is the first player to notch 60 victories in a calendar year since 2017, when Caroline Wozniacki hit 60.
Iga Swiatek advances to her 8th final of the year with a tough three-set win over Ekaterina Alexandrova in Ostrava.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 8, 2022
The win is Swiatek's 60th (incl. BJK Cup), tying her with Wozniacki's 60 in 2017. https://t.co/MYLwuF9I54
Six of the Top 10 will line up for this week's WTA 500 event in San Diego, California. The action starts right away, with Caroline Garcia, Bianca Andreescu, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins and Sofia Kenin among those playing Monday.
Also this week, Cluj-Napoca, Romania returns to the schedule after hosting two events last year. The WTA 250 Transylvania Open kicks off Monday.