Kiki Bertens has consolidated her spot in the top 10 after successfully defending her St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy title on Sunday.
The World No. 8 became the first player to defend the St. Petersburg title as she produced a dominant display to see off the rising Elena Rybakina 6-1 6-3 in just 74 minutes.
It was an emotional week for Bertens, who arrived in St. Petersburg on the back of a heartbreaking Fed Cup loss for Netherlands against Belarus on the weekend, with the team losing the decisive doubles rubber to fall 3-2.
“To defend your title, it’s always something special. You come with such great memories, and if it happens where you have a beautiful trophy again, I’m more than happy,” Bertens told reporters after the match.
“This week was a really tough week. We lost Saturday night in the deciding doubles, 7-6 in the third set and 10-8 in the tiebreak. It was a really tough day. Sunday, I was flying here already, but I think I was still crying for the whole night because I felt so bad after that tough loss.
“I was coming here and putting all the energy I still had left in me during my matches. My team was pushing me this week, so I’m really thankful for that. You can still achieve anything if you just work hard and fight every day to win a match, and you can still hold a trophy at the end of the week.”
Bertens remains at No. 8 in the world after her title defence, but has pulled out of this week’s tournament in Dubai, where she was scheduled to face the returning Kim Clijsters.
Despite the disappointment of falling just short in the final, it was still another fantastic week for Rybakina, who was contesting her third final of the season.
The 20-year-old, who also won the Hobart title and finished runner-up in Shenzhen in January, rises six spots in the latest WTA rankings to reach a career-high No. 19 in the world. Rybakina is now the second-youngest player in the top 20 behind U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu.
Elsewhere, Magda Linette secured the second WTA title of her career after downing qualifier Leonie Kung 6-3 6-2 for the Thailand Open silverware in Hua Hin.
“I’m feeling wonderful, really coming here I didn’t expect this at all,” Linette said. “I was even wondering how it’s going to be because I was coming from Fed Cup, [which was played] indoors and I didn’t have much time to adjust. I really wasn’t expecting it.
Linette, who won her maiden WTA titles as a qualifier in the Bronx last season, rises nine places in the WTA rankings to No. 33 in the world – just five spots off her career-high.
Meanwhile, Kung – 19 years old from Switzerland – enjoys a massive rankings boost after reaching her first WTA final from qualifying, vaulting up 127 rungs to No. 156, which will see her able to contest Grand Slam qualifying if she can remain around that area.
Five of the world’s top 10 are in action this week at the WTA Premier Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, along with former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters.
Latest WTA Rankings, Monday February 17
1. ?? Ashleigh Barty
2. ?? Simona Halep
3. ?? Karolina Pliskova
4. ?? Belinda Bencic (+1)
5. ?? Bianca Andreescu (+1)
6. ?? Elina Svitolina (-2)
7. ?? Sofia Kenin
8. ?? Kiki Bertens
9. ?? Serena Williams
10. ?? Naomi Osaka
11. ?? Petra Kvitova
12. ?? Madison Keys
13. ?? Aryna Sabalenka
14. ?? Johanna Konta
15. ?? Petra Martic
16. ?? Garbine Muguruza
17. ?? Marketa Vondrousova
18. ?? Alison Riske
19. ?? Elena Rybakina (+6)
20. ?? Angelique Kerber
Notable Top 100 Ranking Movements This Week
?? Magda Linette (+9 to No. 33)
?? Nao Hibino (+9 to No. 75)
?? Anastasia Potapova (+20 to No. 81)
?? Patricia Maria Tig (+21 to No. 84)
?? Irina-Camelia Begu (+21 to No. 97)