WTA Race Update: Sabalenka & Zheng Occupy Top Two Spots After First Major Of 2024

WTA Race Update: Sabalenka & Zheng Occupy Top Two Spots After First Major Of 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

Aryna Sabalenka has taken control of the WTA Race after successfully defending her Australian Open title last Saturday.

The Belarusian star received the full 2,000 points on offer to add to her 325 points for her runner-up finish at the Brisbane International in the first week of the season. Sabalenka defeated China's Qinwen Zheng in the final and completed a perfect fortnight without dropping a set.

Sabalenka is now in the ascendancy. Last year, she led World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in 43 of the 44 weeks on the women's calendar, but remarkably, she finished in second place behind the Pole. The 25-year-old will hope that scenario won't materialize this time.

Thanks to the new WTA rules on qualification criteria for the WTA Finals, Sabalenka is all but certain to play the season finale, with reports suggesting it will be held in Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.

Zheng, who came up short in her first Grand Slam final, is in second place in the early race, having tallied 1,375 points. She ranks ahead of Coco Gauff, who won a title in Auckland at the start of 2024 and was a semifinalist at the Australian Open.

Dayana Yastremska's magical run in Melbourne has earned her a spot in the top four of the race. The Ukrainian became the first qualifier to reach the Australian Open semifinal since 1978 and was within a pair of wins from emulating Emma Raducanu's incredible streak at the 2021 US Open.

Elena Rybakina and Jelena Ostapenko were tied in the top spot before the Australian Open, but both have fallen down the pecking order after disappointing campaigns in Melbourne. Rybakina was knocked out in the second round by Anna Blinkova, while Ostapenko only made it to the third round.

Iga Swiatek, who topped last year's race, is down in seventh spot ahead of her Australian Open conqueror Linda Noskova. The WTA Race is starting to have its original shape, and many changes will be expected in the coming weeks as frantic February hoves into view.

2024 WTA Race as of January 29th, 2024:

Rank Player Points
1 Aryna Sabalenka 2325
2 Qinwen Zheng 1375
3 Coco Gauff 1030
4 Dayana Yastremska 845
5 Jelena Ostapenko 738
6 Elena Rybakina 678
7 Iga Swiatek 630
8 Linda Noskova 625
9 Marta Kostyuk 570
10 Anna Kalinskaya 547
11 Daria Kasatkina 503
12 Emma Navarro 478
13 Victoria Azarenka 435
14 Barbora Krejcikova 431
15 Elina Svitolina 403
16 Mirra Andreeva 348
17 Jessica Pegula 300
18 Elise Mertens 293
19 Magdalena Frech 289
20 Maria Timofeeva 286
21 Jasmine Paolini 276
22 Amanda Anisimova 270
23 Oceane Dodin 267
24 Caroline Garcia 225
25 Ekaterina Alexandrova 206
26 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 204
27 Clara Burel 191
28 Katie Boulter 185
29 Diane Parry 184
30 Laura Siegemund 178
31 Anastasia Zakharova 174
32 Storm Hunter 170
33 Beatriz Haddad Maia 166
34 Sloane Stephens 163
35 Elina Avanesyan 161
36 Lesia Tsurenko 160
37 Maria Sakkari 160
38 Brenda Fruhvirtova 158
39 Katerina Siniakova 156
40 Yue Yuan 156
41 Varvara Gracheva 154
42 Moyuka Uchijima 151
43 Viktorija Golubic 149
44 Yafan Wang 146
45 Daria Saville 140
46 Arantxa Rus 139
47 Viktoriya Tomova 137
48 Nuria Parrizas Diaz 136
49 Anna Blinkova 132
50 Paula Badosa 131
50 Alycia Parks 131


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