WTA Weekly Ledger: Irina Falconi sails through to Bogota title, Fed Cup final all set

WTA action at the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia last week saw its first American champion in Irina Falconi. The win sends the 25-year-old Ecuadorian-born American back into the top 70 rankings. 

Meanwhile in Fed Cup, two-time defending champions Czech Republic and the unseeded France were taken to a decisive doubles match in their respective semifinal ties against Switzerland and the Netherlands but proved too strong for their opponents. The final is scheduled for November.

Last week's titlist

Falconi celebrates her maiden WTA trophy. Photo credit: Irina Falconi Twitter.
Falconi celebrates her maiden WTA trophy. Photo credit: Irina Falconi Twitter.

Irina Falconi entered Bogota as the fifth seed and was drawn into the same quarter as defending champion Teliana Pereira. After the upset of Pereira by Argentinian qualifier Catalina Pella in the first round, Falconi saw her draw open and a fair chance to reach the semifinals.

The American did so and upset 2012 champion and fourth seed Lara Arruabarrena there to secure a first ever WTA final berth where she faced another Spaniard Sílvia Soler-Espinosa. Falconi was forced to come back from a break down in the decider to eventually dent her opponent's hopes of a first WTA title having finished runner-up to Monica Puig in Strasbourg two years ago. The score was 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

The tournament saw plentiful of upsets earlier in the week. Besides the exit of Pereira, top seed Elina Svitolina was dumped out in the opening round as well by Alexandra Panova with a third-set tiebreak. Local girl Mariana Duque-Mariño, who was the third seed suffered her first opening round loss since 2011 when she succumbed to Swiss Amra Sadikovic

Fed Cup results

The 2016 Fed Cup final will see France host defending champions Czech Republic. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.
The 2016 Fed Cup final will see France host defending champions Czech Republic. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.

Czech Republic and France both advanced to the Fed Cup final over Switzerland and the Netherlands respectively with similar score lines of 3-2, a win in the decisive doubles match ensured their spot. Of both ties played, the only players to win all their singles rubbers were Swiss Viktorija Golubic and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens. It was a commendable effort from both players who were in such circumstances for the first time in their career since Golubic was playing just her second and and third singles matches on Fed Cup duty while Bertens was helping her nation reach its first final since 1997. 

In the World Group play-offs, Russia and Italy conceded their spots in the World Group to Belarus and Spain respectively. Meanwhile, Germany maintained its spot in the World Group by fending off Romania while the United States returns to the World Group for the first time since 2014. The World Group and World Group II will consist of the following nations in 2017:

The Fed Cup World Group 2017. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.
The Fed Cup World Group 2017. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.
The Fed Cup World Group II 2017. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.
The Fed Cup World Group II 2017. Photo credit: Fed Cup Twitter.

Rankings 

WTA's newly-released top 10 rankings as displayed on its website.
WTA's newly-released top 10 rankings as displayed on its website.

The Fed Cup does not contribute any ranking points being an ITF-organised event. There were no members of the WTA top 10 in action last week. The only players to move rankings in the top 50 are Timea Bacsinszky (17th to 16th) and Svitolina (16th to 17th).

Falconi, by virtue of her Bogota triumph rises 25 spots to number 67, three shy of her career-high set in September last year. Finalist Soler-Espinosa sits at number 124, 46 spots higher than her previous ranking. Panova and Arruabarrena who made the semifinals also see their ranking improve with Arruabarrena returning to the top 80 at 76th from 86th and Panova going up 12 places to number 143.

Biggest droppers came in Pereira and 2015 Bogota runner-up Yaroslava Shvedova who skipped the event this year. Pereira's ranking dives from 49th a fortnight ago to 86th. Shvedova drops out of the top 80 as well, going down 15 spots to number 87. Duque-Mariño who could not replicate her good results from the two previous years has her top 100 ranking hanging by a thread, falling 19 spots from her previous ranking of 81st.

Road to Singapore

The current top 10 in the Road to Singapore as displayed on WTA's website.
The current top 10 in the Road to Singapore as displayed on WTA's website.

The current top 10 in the race to the WTA Finals in Singapore did not see any changes similar to the rankings. The biggest movers in the rest of the list are Falconi who moves up 67 spots to 37th and Arruabarrena who is now within touching distance of the top 60 from her previous position of 83rd. Another player who experiences a significant soar is Pella who was an eventual quarterfinalist in Bogota. She improves from 121st to 100th.

This week's action

With the clay court season already underway, WTA action continues at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup in Stuttgart and Istanbul respectively. Both events will be played on red clay with Stuttgart being the only clay court tournament held indoors. Agnieszka Radwanska spearheads the field in Stuttgart whereas Anna Karolina Schmiedlova leads the draw in Istanbul.

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