On the rise: How Krejcikova, Zidansek, Martincova, Burel and Kalinina have charged up the rankings in 2021
The week after Wimbledon is quiet for some, but not for these five WTA trailblazers…
The week after Wimbledon is a week of rest for many, but a quintet of five WTA talents, led by potential Player of the Year Barbora Krejcikova, were hard at work at tour stops in Prague, Lausanne and Budapest, continuing trends that have been set in place since the beginning of 2021.
Let’s have a look at these five talents, each at a unique phase of their development, to see where they stand after another successful week on the tour.
- 2020 year-and ranking: 65
- Current ranking: Projected 11 (+54)
2021 highlights: The Czech has long been a trailblazer on the doubles circuit, but in 2021 she has taken her singles game to the elite level. Krejcikova’s run to the final in Dubai in March was just a preview of things to come. This spring she won her maiden title in Strasbourg, then claimed her first Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros to stretch her winning streak to 12.
For good measure, Krejcikova won three matches at Wimbledon to reach the second week and stretch her winning streak to 15, before falling to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in the round of 16.
This week’s title run at Prague, where she became the sixth Czech to win the title, makes it 20 victories in her last 21 matches. Next stop, top-10.
- 2020 year-and ranking: 87
- Current ranking: Projected 36 (+51)
2021 highlights: Tamara Zidansek had never been past the second round of a major in eight previous Grand Slam singles main draws before Roland-Garros this spring. But the Slovenian showed the world her talents on the fabled terre battue in Paris, reaching the semi-finals.
Zidansek, who was barely inside the top-100 when she reached the final at Bogota, will crack the top-40 next week after claiming her maiden title at Lausanne on Sunday.
She has won 17 of her 22 matches on the clay in 2021.
- 2020 year-and ranking: 120
- Current ranking: Projected 67 (+53)
2021 highlights: Martincova has improved her ranking by leaps and bounds thanks to a lot of solid work. Sprinkles on the challenger circuit, four successful qualifying runs, and three quarter-finals on the WTA Tour, including two on the grass at Nottingham and Birmingham.
The confidence garnered on the grass clearly paid off this week in Prague, where Martincova reached her first WTA final. She now owns a 29-17 record (all levels) for 2021.
- 2020 year-and ranking: 235
- Current ranking: Projected 99 (+ 134)
2021 highlights: A former junior world No 1, it’s never been a secret that France’s Clara Burel has a lot of potential. In 2021, the 20-year-old is making the most of her talents and gaining valuable experience on tour.
Burel fell to Zidansek in the final at Lausanne after defeating Fiona Ferro and Caroline Garcia to reach the final – two of her three best wins by ranking. The Frenchwoman also qualified at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon, where she took her place in the main draw for the first time and reached the second round.
- 2020 year-and ranking: 162
- Current ranking: Projected 81 (+ 81)
2021 highlights: Kalinina, 24, has been a winning machine on the ITF circuit this season. She has already claimed four ITF titles, and was coming off back-to-back titles this week (at Montpellier and Contrexeville), before reaching her maiden WTA final at Budapest.
She fell to Yulia Puitintseva, but can take pride in the fact that she is 35-8 (all levels in 2021) and at a career-high ranking of 81.