The renaissance of Pauline Parmentier to win her third career title, and first in nearly a decade, at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup last week was, it would be fair to say, an unexpected plot twist in 2018 - and one that sees the Frenchwoman retake her position in the Top 100.
The 32-year-old must have hoped for a better start to 2018. Having garnered just 13 games over three matches in Australia, matters didn't improve much in the next four months as Parmentier picked up just two wins to 15 defeats coming into Istanbul.
By the start of April, even dropping down to ITF $25,000 level hadn't revived her fortunes, resulting in a 7-5, 6-0 first-round loss to World No.329 Anastasia Grymalska in Tunis. However, matters could only improve from there. Fed Cup duty last weekend racked up another two losses and a 2-3 overall defeat for France to the United States - but Parmentier had played extremely well in stretching two Top 20 opponents, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, to tight scorelines of 7-6(3), 7-5 and 7-6(4), 6-4 respectively. It was this positive form, rather than the negative result, that she carried over into Istanbul.
To win her maiden title, in Tashkent in 2007, an unseeded Parmentier had to topple the No.1 seed in the final - an 18-year-old Victoria Azarenka, then ranked World No.35. Last week, the Frenchwoman did it again, scoring her first ever Top 10 win in the quarterfinals when No.1 seed Caroline Wozniacki retired at a set apiece. From there, she would tough out the only seed to make the semifinals, No.7 Irina-Camelia Begu, and the in-form Polona Hercog in the final - a remarkable feat for a player who, in the 10 years since her last title in Bad Gastein in 2008, had only made it to three semifinals herself.
Here are some of this week's most notable ranking movers:
CoCo Vandeweghe (+3, 16 to 13): The American spent her week in Stuttgart insisting on her immutable dislike for clay - while simultaneously powering through an impressive series of opponents including US Open champion Sloane Stephens, defending champion Laura Siegemund and World No.1 Simona Halep, a win that extended Vandeweghe's record against top-ranked players to 3-1. Though her run was ended at the last hurdle by Karolina Pliskova, the 26-year-old came away with her sixth career final, and third at Premier level following Stanford 2012 and 2017.
Maria Sakkari (+6, 48 to 42): The Greek player scored the second semifinal run of her career in Istanbul - and emerges with a new career high ranking. It's not just a personal milestone, though: Sakkari has now beaten by one place the career high of No.43 that her mother, Angeliki Kanellopoulou, set in 1987. Only one Greek woman has been ranked higher than Sakkari's current position: Eleni Daniilidou, who peaked at No.14 in 2003.
Polona Hercog (+13, 75 to 62): As recently as July, the Slovenian was ranked No.265 as she began her comeback from multiple injuries and illnesses - shoulder, left knee, right wrist, appendix - that had kept her out of the game for eight months. Her fifth career final in Istanbul was her first in six years, though, and sees the former World No.35 rise to her highest ranking since September 2015.
Marketa Vondrousova (+5, 73 to 68): The youngest player in the Top 100 is on the rebound after losing her points from her 2017 title in Biel/Bienne: having battled through three three-setters to qualify for Stuttgart, she routed Julia Goerges in the first round to score her third career Top 20 win and had World No.4 Elina Svitolina on the ropes in the second round before being forced to retire with a right thigh injury.
Pauline Parmentier (+46, 122 to 76): Having fallen out of the Top 100 in March following a lean start to the year, the Frenchwoman has emphatically turned her fortunes around with her third career title in Istanbul. The 32-year-old, who first broke the Top 100 in September 2007 and set her career high of No.40 the following year, is back with a bang at her highest ranking since last May.
Mariana Duque-Mariño (+17, 112 to 95): Parmentier is not the only veteran to have had a renaissance in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Mariana Duque-Mariño had fallen to No.125, her lowest ranking since April 2015 - but the Colombian responded with a stellar fortnight on the ITF $80,000 circuit, first reaching the final in Indian Harbour Beach (losing to Taylor Townsend) then going one better last week by lifting the trophy in Charleston, the second biggest title of her career following victory in Bogota in 2010. The 28-year-old is rewarded with a return to the Top 100 for the first time since last May.
Arantxa Rus (+14, 123 to 109): Back in the first half of this decade, the Dutchwoman spent the best part of two years in the Top 100, scoring eye-catching results such as an upset of Kim Clijsters at Roland Garros in 2011. After five years of grinding away on the ITF circuit, Rus is back on the brink of that position and at her highest ranking since May 2013 thanks to a quarterfinal run out of qualifying in Istanbul - including her fourth career Top 30 win over Zhang Shuai in the first round. It was the 27-year-old's second WTA quarterfinal in the past year following 's-Hertogenbosch last June, and a run to the Hua Hin 125K final in November has also bolstered her ranking.
Marta Kostyuk (+24, 158 to 134): The young star just keeps rising. This time last year, the Ukrainian still hadn't played enough tournaments to have a ranking at all; last week, in her first ever Premier event, the 15-year-old ploughed through qualifying in Stuttgart (upsetting No.1 seed Alizé Cornet in the final round) and made it to the second round, where she pushed World No.7 Caroline Garcia to a 7-5 final set. The youngest player in the Top 700, Kostyuk sets yet another career high in 2018 - and distances herself even further from the two other 2002-born players in the Top 500, Whitney Osuigwe at No.473 and Naomi Cheong at No.493.
Veronika Kudermetova (+27, 193 to 166): The powerful Russian, a junior peer of Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina, has been making her own moves over the past few months - and last week made her WTA main draw debut in Stuttgart, scoring the first two Top 100 wins of her career (over Hsieh Su-Wei and Varvara Lepchenko) to qualify before an even bigger upset of Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round. The result is a new career high ranking for the 21-year-old.