Top seed at the St. Petersburg ladies Trophy, Belinda Bencic not only walked away with the runner-up trophy to 2015 US Open finalist Roberta Vinci, but the Swiss star became the 116th player in WTA history to make her Top 10 debut.
With her semifinal win over former junior rival and fellow ranking mover Daria Kasatkina, Bencic moved up to No.9 in the world less than three years after capturing back-to-back junior Grand Slam titles at the French Open and Wimbledon, and a little over two years after her WTA-level breakthrough at the 2014 US Open, where she upset former No.1 Jelena Jankovic to reach the quarterfinals.
With six different players made their Top 10 debut in 2015, Bencic is the first to do so this year, and the youngest by four years to join a club where the average age is 26.7.
Bencic is also the fifth Swiss woman to earn a Top 10 WTA Ranking, joining Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, Martina Hingis, Patty Schnyder, and Timea Bacsinszky - who entered the Top 10 last fall. While Maleeva-Fragniere cracked the Top 10 in May 1984 while representing Bulgaria; she later changed nationalities in 1990 when she was also ranked in the Top 10.
In the last 20 years, 10 players have made their Top 10 debut before their 19th birthday:
TOP 10 DEBUT
February 15, 2016
May 18, 2009
August 7, 2006
July 5, 2004
June 7, 2004
October 8, 2001
June 11, 2001
April 5, 1999
June 22, 1998
March 30, 1998
October 7, 1996
Who else made great strides last week in St. Petersburg and Kaohsiung?
Daria Kasatkina (+18, No.63 to No.45): Despite losing to Bencic in the semifinals, the 2014 French Open junior champion continues her stellar start 2016, taking out Kirsten Flipkens and Dominika Cibulkova to break the Top 50 for the first time in her young career.
Hsieh Su-Wei (+16, No.81 to No.65): The two-time doubles Grand Slam champion and former World No.23 in singles had an impressive week at the Taiwan Open, reaching the semifinals and losing to eventual champion Misaki Doi.
Laura Siegemund (+10, No.87 to No.77): Out to prove her run to the third round of the Australian Open was no fluke, the German veterean pulled off a dramatic upset over Kristina Mladenovic to reach the round of 16 in St. Petersburg as a lucky loser.
Misaki Doi (+9, No. 61 to No.52): The woman that nearly derailed eventual Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the first round, Doi reached the final in Taiwan, pushing Venus Williams in a hard-fought opening set en route to a career-high ranking.
Anastasija Sevastova (+8, No.103 to No.95): The comeback continues for the former World No.36, who returned to tennis at the start of 2015 after nearly two years away; Sevastova returns to the Top 100 for the first time since January of 2012.