Miami Open champion Sloane Stephens is rewarded by hitting a long-awaited milestone, Victoria Azarenka is back in the top 100 following a semifinal run, while Danielle Collins and Wang Yafan hit significant new highs.
Alex Macpherson
April 2, 2018

Back in October 2013, Sloane Stephens was just one spot away from her Top 10 debut. Last week, after five years of holding a career high of No.11, a stunning title run at the Miami Open means that the 25-year-old has broken that barrier at last.

It's a long-awaited milestone for the American. When informed that she had officially made it after her quarterfinal victory over Angelique Kerber, she was mostly relieved: "Finally. Oh, my God," she laughed. "I'm so tired of them being, like, career-high ranking, No.11. Like, finally I can move in there."

Read more: Stephens triumphs over Ostapenko to claim Miami crown

In Miami, Stephens was just three games from a third-round exit to Monica Niculescu. But after surviving that encounter when the Romanian was forced to retire, the eventual champion hit her stride, dispatching two reigning Grand Slam holders (Garbiñe Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko) and two former multi-Slam champions (Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka) to carry home her second-largest tournament win.

Here are some of this week's most notable ranking movers:

Sloane Stephens (+3, 12 to 9): Since her Australian Open semifinal breakthrough in 2013, Stephens' ranking has yo-yoed with her form and health. In 2014, she sank out of the Top 30 - and would not return to the Top 20 until 2016, following a seven-month spell in which the American won her first four titles. But just a month after regaining that position, Stephens would be sidelined for 10 months for surgery on her right foot. By July last year, her ranking had fallen to No.957. Nine months after that low, she's rebounded in style.

Petra Martic (+5, 40 to 35): Since returning from a 10-month hiatus to recuperate from a back injury last year, the Croat has become something of a big-stage specialist. Between 2009 and 2015, she progressed to the fourth round of a Slam just once, and totalled only five main draw wins at Indian Wells and Miami combined. Now, she has been to the second week of three of the past four majors, and has backed that up with a fourth-round showing in Indian Wells and a third-round run in Miami - pushing her up to a new career high.

Zarina Diyas (+8, 56 to 48): This time last year, the Kazakh had dropped to No.239 following eight months on the sidelines for a wrist injury. But in another successful comeback story, the past year has seen the former World No.31 lift her maiden WTA trophy in Tokyo last September - and last week in Miami, she defeated former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova en route to the fourth round. The result lifts the 24-year-old back into the Top 50 for the first time since October 2015.

Danielle Collins (+40, 93 to 53): A fortnight ago, the American debuted in the Top 100 in style, making the fourth round of Indian Wells as a wildcard. In Miami, Collins not only backed that up but made an even bigger splash. The University of Virginia graduate, who only began playing a full-time schedule in the summer of 2016 and was ranked No.237 this time last year, won seven matches to reach the semifinals as a qualifier, with her big-name scalps including Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe and Monica Puig.

Monica Puig (+14, 82 to 68): The Puerto Rican, playing in the closest thing she has to a home tournament, rode a wave of crowd support to score her best run of the year so far in Miami. The Olympic gold medallist notched up three consecutive wins for just the third time since her Rio run, including a stunning second-round upset of Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki.

Alison Riske (+15, 104 to 89): In January, the American fell out of the Top 100 for the first time since July 2013 following a fallow second half of 2017, in which she lost eight of her last nine matches of the year. But she turned her fortunes round in Florida, coming through qualifying before upsetting No.8 seed Caroline Garcia to make the third round.

Victoria Azarenka (+94, 186 to 92): The former World No.1's return from maternity leave had been delayed since Wimbledon due to personal issues - but in just her fourth tournament back, Azarenka overcame those to make a statement semifinal run. Dispatching Catherine Bellis, Madison Keys, Anastasija Sevastova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova consecutively, the Belarusian signalled that her top form is returning.

Wang Yafan (+28, 115 to 97): Having raised her ranking to the verge of the Top 100 at the end of 2016, the Chinese player was struck by disaster in the form of an illness that kept her out of action for six months. But, having scored her second career WTA semifinal in Nanchang on her return last year, the 23-year-old backed it up this year with another semifinal in Taipei City - and, last week, her finest result outside Asia in the form of a fourth-round run in Miami. As a qualifier, Wang upset Indian Wells quarterfinalist Carla Suárez Navarro en route to the fourth round, where she stretched Angelique Kerber to the limit in a two-hour, 51-minute epic.

Wang becomes the 13th Chinese player to enter the Top 100, and first since Duan Yingying in August 2015. In order of entry, China's 12 other former and current Top 100 representatives are Li Fang, Yi Jing-Qian, Zheng Jie, Sun Tiantian, Peng Shuai, Li Na, Yan Zi, Yuan Meng, Zhang Shuai, Zheng Saisai, Wang Qiang and Duan Yingying.

Anna Blinkova (+13, 132 to 119): The 19-year-old former Wimbledon girls' finalist has spent March competing in ITF $60,000 events in China and France - and last week, she took home the title in Croissy-Beauborg, scoring three-set wins over Urszula Radwanska and Magdalena Frech on the way. The biggest tournament victory of Blinkova's young career raises the Russian to just five spots off the career high she set last June.

Claire Liu (+28, 230 to 202): Last year's Wimbledon girls' champion scored her maiden WTA main draw win in Miami, defeating Roland Garros girls' champion Whitney Osuigwe in the first round. The 17-year-old American leaps to a new career high, overtaking fellow 2000-born peers Bianca Andreescu and Destanee Aiava; only two players ranked ahead of Liu are younger than her, 16-year-old No.128 Amanda Anisimova and 15-year-old No.153 Marta Kostyuk.

Click here for more WTA Rankings from the week of April 2, 2018.