WTA Rankings Winners and Losers from Middle East swing: Coco Gauff misses out, Jasmine Paolini moves up

Shahida Jacobs
A happy Jasmine Paolini
Jasmine Paolini of Italy celebrates after winning her tennis match

The lower-ranked players were the big winners from the Middle East swing as the likes of Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff failed to cash in in terms of the WTA Ranking points.

Although world No 1 Iga Swiatek successfully defended her Qatar Open crown, there was a sense of disappointment after she missed out on back-to-back titles with a semi-final defeat at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Top five in WTA Rankings before Middle East swing

1. Iga Swiatek 9,770 points
2. Aryna Sabalenka 8,905
3. Coco Gauff 7,200
4. Jessica Pegula 5,705
5. Elena Rybakina 5,688

Swiatek has added just 335 points to her tally as she dropped points in Qatar after failing to equal or better her 2023 run when she finished runner-up.

And while the four-time Grand Slam winner will be happy to have stretched her lead over Aryna Sabalenka, she had an opportunity to open an even bigger gap following the Australian Open champion’s early exit in Dubai.

As things stand, Swiatek’s lead over Sabalenka will be 1,380 ahead of the Sunshine Double.

READ MORE: ‘Angry’ Iga Swiatek determined ‘to let it go and accept it’ after Dubai exit

Gauff will also feel she allowed a golden opportunity to move closer to the top two slip out of her hands as the American has dropped 225 points over the past two weeks after losing in the second round in Doha and the quarter-final in the UAE.

A couple of semi-final runs at both WTA 1000 events would have seen her put a lot more pressure on Sabalenka at No 2 in the rankings.

Elena Rybakina moved back up to No 3 on the back of winning the WTA 500 Abu Dhabi Open and finishing runner-up in Qatar while Pegula will be delighted that she is fourth after skipping the entire swing.

Top five in WTA Rankings after Middle East swing

1. Iga Swiatek 10,105 points
2. Aryna Sabalenka 8,725
3. Coco Gauff 6,975
4. Elena Rybakina 6,848
5. Jessica Pegula 5,085

The Big Winners

With the top-ranked players not doing too well in Dubai, those further down the rankings made the most of their opportunities.

First-time WTA 1000 finalists Jasmine Paolini and Anna Kalinskaya have cashed in with both already assured of hitting new career highs before Saturday’s showpiece match.

Paolini was at No 26 before the Middle East swing, but she is set for a jump into the top 20 for the first time as she will be ranked No 14 if she wins the title or No 17 if she finishes runner-up.

Kalinskaya, meanwhile, was at No 40 at the start of February and she will surge to No 16 if she beats the Italian or find herself just outside the top 20 with a runners-up trophy.

Former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova was at No 78 just a fortnight ago, but she won the Transylvania Open and surged up to No 59. She then reached the semi-final in Doha and the third round in Dubai, resulting in a move back into the top 40 as she is currently at No 38 in the Live Rankings.

Naomi Osaka didn’t play in Dubai, but she still had a good outing in Qatar and is 287th in the Live Rankings after surging more than 300 places.

The Big Losers

Dubai defending champion Barbora Krejcikova missed the tournament due to injury and she is set to slip out of the top 20, having started the month at No 12. Madison Keys, another who has missed several events due to injury, is another who is likely to move out of the top 20.

Camila Giorgi’s struggles also continue as she will leave the top 100, down from 66 just a few weeks ago.

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