However, Gauff had dropped by a spot from her previous career-best ranking of 3rd, which she attained following her US Open success last year. Elena Rybakina won the first WTA 500 tournament of the new season in Brisbane, which meant she overtook Gauff.
The 19-year-old was powerless to stop the Kazakh despite a successful title defense in Auckland during the same week. But at the end of the first week of the Australian Open, Gauff is now assured of reclaiming 3rd spot ahead of Rybakina.
The American phenom has defended her points from last year's Australian Open, where she reached the fourth round but lost to Jelena Ostapenko. Unfortunately for Rybakina, she was eliminated in the second round by Anna Blinkova in the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
That means the big-serving Kazakhstani is set to drop 1,230 points after reaching the final last year and is now projected to drop as low as fifth following the conclusion of the tournament in Melbourne. Jessica Pegula, who also suffered a shock defeat too, will rise to fourth.
Gauff, however, takes the 3rd spot in the live rankings and cannot go lower than that even if she loses to Magdalena Frech of Poland on Sunday when the round of 16 matches begins. It is pertinent to note that third place is not her ceiling during the fortnight.
Gauff can still finish the month as the new World No. 2 ahead of Aryna Sabalenka. But for that to happen, she'll need to better the Belarusian's result at the Australian Open.
Sabalenka's title defense is showing no signs of slowing so far, and Gauff could potentially need to take matters into her own hands. The pair are in the same half of the draw and could meet in the semifinal in what will be a rematch of last year's US Open, and this time, the World No. 2 ranking will be at stake.