Libéma Open champion Aleksandra Krunic celebrates her first title with a new career high, while Kirsten Flipkens gets a boost back into the Top 50 and Viktoria Kuzmova continues to ascend.
Alex Macpherson
June 18, 2018

Last week, Aleksandra Krunic captured her first career title at the Libéma Open in style. Thrilling the crowds with her tactics and touch, the Serb's run was characterized by classic grass-court tennis, charismatic on-court interviews - and, in the last two rounds, a pair of unlikely comebacks.

Down a set and a break to No.1 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in the semifinals, Krunic was getting overpowered by the two-time champion's mighty serve - but gradually began to find openings to play her own subtler game, saving a match point to triumph 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(1). The next day, the 25-year-old again found herself trailing a set and a break in the final, this time to the flair of Kirsten Flipkens - but, in an impressive display of fortitude, once again stormed back to capture the trophy 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-1.

Read more: Krunic authors second comeback for first title in Den Bosch

The 's-Hertogenbosch title caps off a 13-month period in which Krunic has firmly re-established herself on Tour. Having initially broken through at the 2014 US Open, where she stunned Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova before losing in three tight sets to Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round, the Moscow-born Serb would not win three consecutive Tour matches again for over three years, and had sunk back out of the Top 100 by the start of 2016. 

A nine-match winning streak last June as Krunic captured the WTA 125K title in Bol and followed it up with a run to the ITF $100,000 final in Manchester sparked a renaissance, though. In September, she was runner-up to Zhang Shuai in Guangzhou, her first WTA final, and cracked the Top 50 with a quarterfinal showing in Brisbane to kick off 2018 in fine fashion. Now, her maiden trophy sees Krunic crack another career high.

Read more: 2018 Scouting Report: Aleksandra Krunic's cast for most improved

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

Ashleigh Barty (+1, 17 to 16): The Australian No.1 captured her second career title in Nottingham last week, defeating Naomi Osaka in the semifinals and Johanna Konta in a narrow 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 final - the only set Barty would drop over the course of the week. The result moves the 22-year-old back to her career high.

Aleksandra Krunic (+16, 55 to 39): The second maiden tournament winner of the year (following Naomi Osaka in Indian Wells), Krunic also becomes the fourth Serbian player to win a WTA trophy after 15-time titlists Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic and two-time victor Bojana Jovanovski Petrovic. Those three are also the only Serbs who have been ranked higher than Krunic, who cracks the Top 40 and hits a new career high this week.

Kirsten Flipkens (+12, 60 to 48): 32-year-old Flipkens has quietly begun a career renaissance in recent weeks. A semifinalist in Nurnberg before Roland Garros, the Belgian backed up her form by making the final last week in 's-Hertogenbosch - the first time she has reached two semifinals in one year since 2016, when she was runner-up in Monterrey and made the last four in Mallorca. The 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist's reward is her highest ranking since the end of 2014.

Viktoria Kuzmova (+15, 81 to 66): The big-serving Slovak is one of the most rapidly rising up-and-comers on Tour. The 20-year-old reached her second career semifinal in 's-Hertogenbosch last week - and, having cracked the Top 100 only four weeks ago, is now heading at speed towards the Top 50. Kuzmova's latest rise also means that she is younger than every player ranked above her.

Mariana Duque-Mariño (+16, 112 to 96): For the second time this year, an ITF title run bounces the Colombian No.1 back into the Top 100. Champion at the ITF $80,000 event in Charlottesville in April, Duque-Mariño took the trophy at the ITF $60,000 tournament in Hodmezovasarhely last week, saving two match points in the final to overcome Irina Bara 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Ons Jabeur (+47, 180 to 133): Having broken through in 2017 to become the second Tunisian player to reach the Top 100, Jabeur fell back precipitously at the start of this year. Winning just one of her first 10 matches of 2018, the 23-year-old sunk from a career high of No.83 last October to No.180 last week. Just in time, though, Jabeur bounced back with the biggest title of her career to date - and first on grass - at the ITF $100,000 tournament in Manchester. The 2011 Roland Garros junior champion did not drop a set all week, and dominated Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Katie Boulter (+17, 156 to 139): The Briton had a breakthrough week at home in Nottingham: in just her third WTA-level main draw, and having never previously won a main draw match, Boulter defeated Yanina Wickmayer and Samantha Stosur to make her first ever quarterfinal. Having had her progress halted in 2015 as a back injury and illness forced her on to the sidelines for an entire year, the 21-year-old now finds herself at a career high inside the Top 150 for the first time.

Veronika Kudermetova (+28, 170 to 142): The Russian has played just two WTA main draws, but is already garnering a reputation as a giant-killer. In April, she qualified for Stuttgart - and promptly beat Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round. Last week, she came through qualifying for the second time in 's-Hertogenbosch - and again upset a Top 30 opponent in the main draw, this time defending champion Anett Kontaveit. Kudermetova backed that up by defeating erstwhile junior rival Belinda Bencic for the first time to make her maiden quarterfinal, and hits a career high as a result.

Feels when you make your first @wta QF 💪🏼

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