Victory at the Sydney International has boosted Petra Kvitova in the WTA Rankings, while a maiden title for Sofia Kenin at the Hobart International has resulted in a new career high.
Alex Macpherson
January 14, 2019

The Czech carousel turns again. Having lost her country's No.1 spot in the first week of the season, Petra Kvitova has immediately snatched it back in the second with a title run in Sydney that sees her move up to World No.6.

Read more: Kvitova conquers Barty in classic Sydney championship

The Czech Republic has produced two out of two Premier champions in 2019 so far: Karolina Pliskova's Brisbane success vaulted her over Kvitova last week, but the two-time Wimbledon winner hit back by recording straight-set wins over Aryna Sabalenka, Hsieh Su-Wei, Angelique Kerber and Aliaksandra Sasnovich before coming out on top of a classic three-set final over Ashleigh Barty.

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

Petra Kvitova (+2, 8 to 6): The 28-year-old boasts one of the most impressive records in finals on the WTA Tour: her Sydney triumph was her eighth consecutive victory in a title match, and improved her career stats to 26 wins in 33 finals. It's no surprise, then, that the six titles Kvitova currently holds are double the number of anyone else: trailing the Czech in joint second place with three tournament wins in the past 12 months are Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka. The last time Kvitova lost in a final? Luxembourg 2016 at the hands of Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-0.

Sofia Kenin (+19, 56 to 37): An impressive title run in Hobart last week for the young American began with her fourth career Top 20 win when she upset No.1 seed Caroline Garcia in the first round. Kenin has also stunned a seed the previous week in Auckland, falling in round two after eliminating Petra Martic - but this week, the 20-year-old rode her giant-killing ways all the way to a maiden trophy. Kenin did not drop a set all week, ousting two further seeds in Kirsten Flipkens and Alizé Cornet before a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the final, and is rewarded with a new career high ranking and a Top 40 debut. Kenin's move leapfrogs her over Viktoria Kuzmova to retake the No.2 spot behind Aryna Sabalenka among 1998-born players.

Yulia Putintseva (+5, 44 to 39): The Kazakh seized headlines in Sydney with a battling, fist-pumping comeback upset over Sloane Stephens to reach the quarterfinals as a qualifier - Putintseva's second consecutive three-set win over the American, and her second career Top 5 win. As a result, the 24-year-old moves back into the Top 40 for the first time since May 2017.

Belinda Bencic (+6, 55 to 49): As in 2018, Bencic started her season by partnering Roger Federer to Hopman Cup victory, and this year the Swiss player carried her form over into the second week. The former World No.7, whose past two seasons have been beset by a string of injuries, upset No.2 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round of Hobart and went on to reach the semifinals before falling to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (+18, 77 to 59): The Slovak's slump from a career high of World No.26 at the end of 2015 down to No.273 by January 2017 remains one of the bigger tennis mysteries of the past few years - but Schmiedlova has been rebounding steadily and surely over the past year. A title in Bogota last April catapulted her back into the Top 100, and a run to last week's Hobart final saw her smooth backhand back to its best in victories over Alison Van Uytvanck and Belinda Bencic. The 24-year-old's fifth career final may have ended in a loss to Sofia Kenin, but her highest ranking since August 2016 will be a comfort.

Priscilla Hon (+21, 161 to 140): Having won an Australian Open wildcard with strong ITF performances at the end of 2018, the 20-year-old delighted home crowds in Sydney by qualifying and winning her first Premier-level main draw match to reach the second round. Hon's run included her second and third career Top 100 victories, over Aleksandra Krunic and Tatjana Maria, and she would go on to win the first eight games against Aliaksandra Sasnovich before falling in three sets.



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Timea Bacsinszky (+47, 192 to 145): Entering Sydney with a Special Ranking, the Swiss made the most of her opportunity to upset No.9 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the first round and subsequently reach the quarterfinals. Bacsinszky's comeback from hand surgery has gathered real steam after a slow start: having gone 0-9 between her return in February last year and September, the 29-year-old is 17-7 since. Sevastova was her second Top 20 win in this spell (following Aryna Sabalenka in Tianjin last October), and Sydney was Bacsinszky's first appearance in the last eight of a Premier-or-above event since Roland Garros 2017.

Greet Minnen (+76, 346 to 270): The Belgian made an eyecatching WTA debut in Hobart last week, scoring the first three Top 100 wins of her career en route from qualifying to the quarterfinals. Minnen had doubted whether she would even be able to get into qualifying, but a run in which she defeated Katie Boulter, Kateryna Kozlova and Magda Linette sees her rise back to within just seven spots of the career high of No.263 that she set in September 2016.

Daria Lopatetska (+124, 489 to 365): The stream of young Ukrainian talent shows no sign of letting up. 15-year-old Lopatetska only made her pro debut seven months ago, but has already compiled a 31-3 win-loss record, capturing four ITF titles in seven events played. Lopatetska has opened 2019 with a bang, winning her first two W25 tournaments back-to-back in Hong Kong, a 12-match streak run that has included defeats of Wang Xinyu and Cagla Buyukakcay.

Read more: Scouting Report: Young gun Daria Lopatetska off and running in 2019