Cori “Coco” Gauff finally broke into the Women’s Tennis Association’s top 100 rankings after winning her first WTA singles title. With her win at Austria’s Linz Open, the 15-year-old becomes the youngest American woman to claim a top-100 ranking since Jennifer Cipriati in 1990.
When the new WTA’s rankings came out on Oct. 14, Coco Gauff had moved up 39 spots to No. 71 — the first time the teen sensation has broken into the top 100. But she’s made even bigger rankings moves this year.
For instance, on June 10, Coco was ranked 313th. Then, Gauff upset Serena Williams in the first round of Wimbledon. Gauff then went on to win the next two rounds, moving up 172 places to No. 141. All tolled, Coco moved up more than 800 places in the WTA rankings this year.
Last week, however, a rankings move didn’t look like it was in the cards for Coco when she failed to qualify for the Linz Open’s main draw.
Coco’s Lucky Loser’s Path to WTA Title
The Linz Open was Gauff’s first singles tournament since falling to top-seeded Naomi Osaka in the third round of this year’s US Open. At Linz, Coco prevailed in her first qualifying round, beating Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova 6-7, 6-2, 6-2. But on Monday Oct. 7, Gauff lost to 130th ranked Tamara Korpatsch 6-4, 6-2, in the final qualifying round.
On Tuesday, 15 minutes before her first main event round, Maria Sakkari withdrew due to a wrist injury. Gauff became her “Lucky Loser” replacement. In tennis, players who fail to win in the final round of qualifiers are eligible to replace a main event player who withdraws due to injury or illness. Although they are called “lucky losers,” relatively few players have been able to turn their luck into a WTA title. This is how Coco did just that:
Round 1: Gauff defeats Voegele (ranked 132) 6-3, 7-6
Round 2: Gauff defeats Kozlova (ranked 83) 4-6, 6-4, 2-0 (Kozlova ret.)
Quarterfinals: Gauff defeats Bertens (ranked 8) 7-6, 6-4
Semifinals: Gauff defeats Petkovic (ranked 75) 6-4, 6-4
Finals: Gauff defeats Ostapenko (ranked 72) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
Other Big WTA Rankings Movers
Coco Gauff wasn’t the only player making big moves in the WTA rankings this week. Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson moved up 15 places to the No. 44 spot after winning the Tianjin Open on Oct. 13. Only a few weeks earlier, Peterson claimed the first WTA title of her career in the Jianxi Open. Needless to say, Peterson has enjoyed her time in China.
Heather Watson, who lost out to Peterson in Tianjin’s finals, moved up 37 places into 88th in the WTA rankings.
Italy’s Camila Giorgi was less fortunate in the rankings. The defending Linz Open champ withdrew from this year’s Austrian tournament before it started with a wrist injury. She dropped 29 spots to No. 92.
Tennis fans might remember Giorgi for her non-handshake after her first round loss to Maria Sakkari at this year’s US Open.