A week after earning the biggest title of her career in St. Petersburg, Roberta Vinci will enter the Top 10 for the first time in her career.
WTA Staff

DUBAI, UAE - Roberta Vinci caps a spectacular six months that saw her reach the US Open final, qualify for the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, and capture the biggest title of her career at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy with one incredible 33rd birthday present. Next Monday, Vinci will become the oldest woman (at 33 years, four days old) and fourth Italian in WTA history to debut in the World's Top 10.

"Yes, well, it was an incredible month for me, incredible end of the season, and incredible ranking right now," Vinci said after reacing the semifinals in Zhuhai, which helped her finish 2015 ranked No.15.

A former No.1 in doubles, Vinci completes a quartet of a most impressive generation of Italians that includes Flavia PennettaFrancesca Schiavone, and Sara Errani - all of whom have reached the Top 10 and the finals or better at a Grand Slam in singles. Vinci paired with Errani to form one of the most dominant doubles pairs of the decade, winning five major titles together and completing a career Grand Slam at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.

The veteran had previously peaked at No.11 for ten weeks in 2013 after reaching back-to-back quarterfinals at the US Open, but it was her most recent fortnight in Flushing - six weeks after being ranked as low as No.58 - that will prove unforgettable. Playing her first Grand Slam semifinal, she halted World No.1 Serena Williams' own history-making bid to become the first to achieve the Calendar Year Grand Slam in 1988. Eliminating the American in three arduous sets, she then took part in the first-ever all-Italian final against eventual champion and childhood friend, Flavia Pennetta.

"I won a lot of matches," Vinci told WTA Insider in Wuhan. "I reached one final in a Grand Slam for the first time, I beat Serena, I beat Petra. So of course now is my time, no? I'm close to the Top 10, so now I have to push more, I think."

She began 2016 with a career-best Australian swing - reaching the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International and the third round at the Australian Open for the fourth time in her career - and a clear goal in mind for what she initially considered to be her last season.

"Well, of course I'm confident right now," she said in Brisbane. "I'm 15 in the world right now and will try my best to reach the Top 10. This is my goal. I know it's not easy, but I would like to enjoy this year, no pressure, try my best, improve every single day, every single tournament everything."

Vinci all but clinched that goal a month later when she won her first Premier-level title at the inaugural event in St. Petersburg, defeating another Top 10 debutante Belinda Bencic in the final.

"It's a lot for me. It's an amazing moment. I'm not young," she said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "I'm almost done. I'm really happy. I always tried to my best. It's not easy to practice every single day. For me this tournament was a fantastic moment."

Here is a look at the oldest players to make their Top 10 debut after the rankings made its debut in November 1975:

PLAYER (NATIONALITY)

DATE OF TOP 10 DEBUT

AGE

Roberta Vinci (ITA)

22-Feb-16

33 years, 4 days

Betty Stove (NED)

2-Oct-76

31 years, 100 days

Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

7-Jun-10

29 years, 349 days

Julie Halard-Decugis (FRA)

23-Aug-99

28 years, 347 days

Ai Sugiyama (JPN)

10-Nov-03

28 years, 128 days

Lucie Safarova (CZE)

8-Jun-15

28 years, 124 days

Paola Suárez (ARG)

7-Jun-04

27 years, 349 days

Li Na (CHN)

1-Feb-10

27 years, 340 days

Sandrine Testud (FRA)

7-Feb-00

27 years, 310 days

Flavia Pennetta (ITA)

17-Aug-09

27 years, 173 days