Emma Raducanu makes sensational return to the top ten of the rankings

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu celebrates at the 2024 Eastbourne International
Emma Raducanu celebrates in Eastbourne

Emma Raducanu secured her first win against a top 10 rival when she beat Jessica Pegula at Eastbourne on Wednesday and the victory has had a dramatic impact on her ranking.

The 2021 US Open champion turned in a hugely impressive display to beat world No 5 Pegula, just a few days after she confirmed her prowess on grass with a title win in Berlin.

Raducanu followed up her stunning first-round win over fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens by digging deep to battle past American Pegula 4-6 7-6 (6) 7-5 after almost three hours in sweltering conditions.

She lost against Daria Kasatkina in the quarter-finals, but the run in the WTA 500 tournament in Eastbourne saw Raducanu climb 33 places in the live WTA rankings and she is set to leap to No 135 in that list on Monday.

If she wins a couple of rounds at Wimbledon, Raducanu’s return to the top 100 of the WTA rankings could be in sight, but it is clear that the Brit is ready to mix it with some of the game’s top players once more after serious injury problems ruled her out of the grass court season a year ago.

That is backed up by her position in the UTR Ratings, where her win against Pegula has secured her a return to the top ten of rankings endorsed by tennis legend Novak Djokovic.

Raducnau is sitting at No 10 in the UTR Rankings, just one place behind Peguala and one spot ahead of Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

The women’s UTR Ratings are led by world No 1 Iga Swiatek, with Elena Rybakina in third position and Danielle Collins in fourth.

While a top ten rating may seem a little inflated, former British No 1 Laura Robson believes Raducanu is performing at a much higher level than her current WTA rankings suggest.

“It’s great to see Emma looking excited to be back on court and up for the challenge,” Robson told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

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“Now I’m expecting her to have a good Wimbledon. She’s put the work in, been practising on grass for quite a few weeks now she is looking ready for it.

“Looking at her levels, she is clearly playing well above her ranking. She is already right up there with top players and that will be really nice for Emma to see.

Former British No 1’s Laura Robson and Tim Henman at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event

“She will know she is not far off and is in a lot better place than she was six months ago.

“So if I had to pick out a player to watch at Wimbledon in the women’s draw, it would be Emma.”

Raducanu’s current UTR Rating matches her best position in the WTA rankings from back in 2022 and it may offer a better snapshot of her current form after impressive displays on grass courts.

Two factors are considered when calculating the match rating and the first factor is the UTR Rating difference between opponents.

The second factor is the competitiveness of the match, as determined by the percentage of total games won.

Given the UTR Rating difference, the algorithm expects a certain percentage of total games won.

The player who performs better than the algorithm’s expectation will see their match rating go up while the other player’s match rating will go down.

When one player’s match rating increases, the other player’s match rating decreases by the same amount.

As the match format increases in length, more weight is given. A match with a three-set format receives more weight than a match with an eight-game pro set format.

As the UTR Rating difference between players increases, less weight is given. For example, imagine a player with a UTR Rating of 6.00.

A match played against an opponent with UTR Rating of 5.00 or 7.00 receives more weight than a match played against an opponent with a UTR of 4.00 or 8.00.

As the reliability of the opponent’s UTR Rating increases, more weight is given and a match played against an opponent who competes often and thus has a reliable UTR Rating receives more weight.