Last week was the first Premier Mandatory event of the season with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The star-studded field saw the returns of Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. However, it was the younger generation of tennis superstars who were the ones to emerge out in the California sun.
Last Week's Titlist
Naomi Osaka prevailed in an all 20-year-old showdown in the first Premier Mandatory final of the year against Daria Kasatkina. For both women, it was the biggest final each player has gotten to and the players each woman defeated along the way was quite staggering.
Osaka started the week unseeded and took out Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska in her opening two matches before following that up with victories against Sachia Vickery and Maria Sakkari. Her route to the finals was complete after blowing out both Karolina Pliskova and world number one Simona Halep.
Kasatkina, who also started out as the 20th seed, easily took out Katerina Siniakova to start before ousting the two most recent Grand Slam champions in Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki. The Russian blew out Angelique Kerber before taking out Venus Williams in what was the match of the tournament.
Danielle Collins, an American wildcard, made the most of her opportunity, by reaching the fourth round and moving up 24 spots to 93. Champion Naomi Osaka moved up 22 spots to 22, putting her within touching distance of the top-20. Qualifier Lara Arruabarrena moved up 12 spots to 68, and Petra Martic, a quarterfinalist, moved up 40 spots to 11. Kasatkina moved up eight spots to 11.
Defending champion Elena Vesnina dropped 19 spots, losing in the third round to Angelique Kerber. Vesnina's opponent in the final last year, countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova, dropped nine spots to 27, though this was her first tournament of the season returning from injury. Denisa Allertova dropped 12 spots to 99.
Road To Singapore
Caroline Wozniacki remains on top of the Race to Singapore rankings with Simona Halep right behind. Two new faces join the top-eight however with Kasatkina and Osaka joining the fray, knocking out Garbiñe Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova for the time being.
This Week's Tournaments
We are currently underway at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne. Naomi Osaka will not be able to complete the Sunshine Double, going out to Elina Svitolina. Defending champion Johanna Konta still finds herself in the hunt though to try and go back-to-back.