WTA Insider breaks down the ranking stakes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
February 19, 2019

DUBAI, UAE - No.2 Simona Halep, No.3 Petra Kvitova, No.5 Karolina Pliskova, and No.7 Angelique Kerber each have an opportunity to make up ground on World No.1 Naomi Osaka at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Playing in her first tournament since overtaking Halep at No.1, Osaka bowed out in the second round on Tuesday night to Kristina Mladenovic. 

Osaka has secured the No.1 ranking through the BNP Paribas Open, where she is the defending champion. But with 1,000 points up for grabs at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open, the top spot will most certainly be in play in March.

Entering Dubai, Halep trailed Osaka by 1,433 points. With Osaka's loss, Halep now sits 1,229 points behind at No.2, with 900 points on offer this week in Dubai. After securing her spot in the third round with a straight set win over Eugenie Bouchard, here's how Halep can continue to close the gap on Osaka:

Quarterfinals: -1,144 points
Semifinals: -984 points
Final: -749 points
Champion: -434 points

 
Australian Open finalist Kvitova can return to No.2 by winning the Dubai title, so long as Halep does not reach the final. If the Czech wins the title and rises to No.2, she would trail Osaka by 951 points.
 
Pliskova can move to No.2 by winning the title, so long as Halep does not reach the semifinals. If Pliskova rises to No.2 she will trail Osaka by 1,016 points.

Kerber also can climb to No.2 this week if she wins the title with Halep not reaching the quarterfinals. A title and rise to No.2 for Kerber would bring the German within 1,196 points returning to No.1.

UPDATE: Halep has advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Lesia Tsurenko, meaning Kerber cannot rise to No.2 this week.
  
Current WTA Top 10: Most Points to Defend at Indian Wells

No.1 Naomi Osaka: 1000  
No.2 Simona Halep: 390  
No.7 Angelique Kerber: 215  
No.5 Karolina Pliskova: 215
No.4 Petra Kvitova: 65  
No.3 Sloane Stephens: 65**  
No.6 Elina Svitolina: 65  
No.9 Aryna Sabalenka: 65  
No.10 Serena Williams: 65  
No.8 Kiki Bertens: 10  
 
**Stephens also defending 60 pts at Acapulco prior to Indian Wells