The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Pete’s Power Rankings: Grass presents new challenges for top stars

June 22, 2021
Ons Jabeur kisses the Birmingham trophy

Photo : @the_LTA

Welcome to Pete’s Power Rankings, where we paint a picture of the WTA Tour by looking at recent results and ranking players based on their current form, rather than the WTA’s point system.

The power rankings will be updated weekly all the way up to the Omnium Banque Nationale.

We are now one week away from Wimbledon and there is one more chance for the ladies of the WTA to find some form before the crown jewel of the tennis season.

Some players kicked off their grass-court campaigns last week in Berlin or Birmingham, while others waited until this week for some last-minute prep.

With others taking the full period off between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, it makes it even tougher to figure out who is going to be the favourite heading into the All-England Club.

Let’s discuss it anyway. Here are your mid-grass season Power Rankings:

PETE’S WTA TOUR POWER RANKINGS – Week of June 21, 2021

1.Iga ŚwiątekChange: –
2021 Record: 23-6 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 9Last Week Result: DNP

So far as a pro, Świątek’s best results have come on clay, with some positives on hard court. The former Wimbledon junior champion has not had as much exposure to the surface over the last few years, but she will look to get re-acclimated this week in Eastbourne.

2.Cori GauffChange: –
2021 Record: 27-10 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 23Last Week Result: DNP

The young gun has a tricky start to her grass-court season this week in Eastbourne, taking on seventh seed Elise Mertens. But Gauff is coming in hot after a great clay season and has had success on grass in the past, so there is every reason to believe she will make more leaps this summer.

3.Serena WilliamsChange: –
2021 Record: 12-4Actual Rank: 8Last Week Result: DNP

Williams is not competing in a warm-up event before Wimbledon, but do not read too much into that. She knows what she is capable of at the All-England Club, having reached the final in each of her last four appearances. She could have not played all year and she would still be a favourite.

Besides, she is a little busy this week giving tennis lessons to her daughter.

4.Ashleigh BartyChange: –
2021 Record: 28-6 (3 Titles)Actual Rank: 1Last Week Result: DNP

We are still waiting to see how the world number one is doing physically after retiring from the French Open. She is not playing any warm-up events but so far there is no indication that she will not play Wimbledon and be one of the favourites, health depending.

5.Sofia KeninChange: –
2021 Record: 10-9Actual Rank: 6Last Week Result: DNP

It is a little surprising that the 22-year-old Kenin is not playing any grass events before Wimbledon, so she will be looking to use rest as her best weapon at the All-England Club.

It is more surprising given how poor her 2021 had been prior to the French Open. But she should be coming out of that event with some heightened confidence after a solid result.

6.Victoria AzarenkaChange: +5
2021 Record: 12-4Actual Rank: 14Last Week Result: Berlin – SF

Azarenka appears to be in the ascendency heading into Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals in Berlin last week, only losing to the eventual champion. The Belarusian has been very consistent in 2021, maybe this is the time she breaks through and wins her first major since 2013.

7.Barbora KrejcikovaChange: -1
2021 Record: 26-9 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 17Last Week Result: DNP

The French Open champion has not played since claiming that historic victory in Paris, but as a major champion she will be considered a favourite at every event for at least the next year.

The big question mark for her is the fact that she will be making her Wimbledon singles debut next week. However, she is a former doubles champion at the All-England club and has reached the last two doubles finals there.

8.Anastasia PavlyuchenkovaChange: -1
2021 Record: 15-10Actual Rank: 19Last Week Result: DNP

The Russian is competing in Eastbourne this week, looking to get her grass feet under her before Wimbledon. The All-England club has historically not been kind to Pavlyuchenkova, she has a record of 8-8 there, but perhaps the confidence of finally getting past the quarter-final of a major will help carry her.

9.Maria SakkariChange: +1
2021 Record: 21-10Actual Rank: 18Last Week Result: DNP

Like many of the others who went deep at Roland Garros, Sakkari is taking some time off before Wimbledon. Her power should make her a threat on grass.

10.Ons JabeurChange: New to List
2021 Record: 28-10 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 24Last Week Result: Birmingham – W

Without question, Jabeur’s victory in Birmingham last week was the biggest story of the week. The Tunisian only dropped one set on her way to her first career title, also the first title ever by an Arab woman.

She just keeps making history, and her good form is coming at a good time with Wimbledon right around the corner. She was dominant on her way to the title and could be one of the most dangerous players outside the top 16 in the draw.

11.Belinda BencicChange: Return to List
2021 Record: 16-12Actual Rank: 11Last Week Result: Berlin – F

Finally a bounce-back for Bencic. After a pretty rough run in the spring of 2021, the Swiss re-found some form and reached just her second final in the last two years in Berlin. And even though she lost to Ludmilla Samsonova in the final, it is a definite step in the right direction for the 24-year-old.

12.Aryna SabalenkaChange: -3
2021 Record: 27-9 (2 Titles)Actual Rank: 4Last Week Result: Berlin – R1

What to do about Sabalenka. A month ago, she was looking like she was ready to take the next step and become a contender at slams. Now she is barely getting any discussion as a Wimbledon favourite.

Even though her big-hitting game should be effective on grass, her first-round loss in Berlin is much more in line with her poor form on the surface over the years.

13.Ludmilla SamsonovaChange: New to List
2021 Record: 23-13 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 63Last Week Result: Berlin – W

The biggest shock of the week came in Berlin, where 22-year-old Samsonova came out of nowhere to win the title.

The Russian had to come through qualifying just to get to the main draw and then had to beat two top-20 players in Azarenka and Bencic in the last two rounds for one of the more improbable titles in recent memory.

Add her to the list of unseeded players no one will want to face at Wimbledon.

14.Garbine MuguruzaChange: Return to List
2021 Record: 25-9 (1 Title)Actual Rank: 13Last Week Result: Berlin – QF

Will the grass be Muguruza’s salvation? After a great start to the season on hard courts, the Spaniard did not have a great run on the clay, culminating in a first-round loss in Paris.

However, she started showing flashes of the two-time major champion last week in Berlin, reaching her first quarter-final since March. That should give her some confidence heading into Wimbledon, where she is only four years removed from a title.

15.Elina SvitolinaChange: -7
2021 Record: 21-11Actual Rank: 5Last Week Result: Berlin – R2

Svitolina may have gone up in the actual rankings, but she did not earn it. She lost her opening match in Berlin to Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets.

Not an encouraging result for someone who is defending semi-finalist points at Wimbledon.

Off the List:

  • Elise Mertens (Lost in Birmingham R1)
  • Halep (Withdrew from Bad Homburg with calf injury)
  • Tamara Zidansek (Did not play)
  • Sloane Stephens (Did not play)
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