WTA Weekly Update week two: Angelique Kerber continues hot streak; Elise Mertens' Hobart double

The German continues to find her form from 2016 which saw her win two Grand Slam titles while the Belgian completes a single/doubles double in Hobart.

WTA Weekly Update week two: Angelique Kerber continues hot streak; Elise Mertens' Hobart double
Kerber and Mertens were the champions leading up to the Australian Open (Photos Courtesy of Getty Images)

The week before the Australian Open is always a crucial one. It's the start of a new season so players usually use this week to either test their fitness or get some sort of semblance of the form they're in headed to Melbourne Park

For the second time in as many weeks, we saw one of the most inform players capture a title, as well as a player, winning both the singles and doubles titles in one event. 

Last Week's Champions

Sydney

Angelique Kerber has found the form which saw her reach three Grand Slam finals and win two Grand Slam titles back in 2016. The German was the only women's player who did not drop a set at the Hopman Cup. She faced early tests against Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams and overcame both those players in three sets.

She eased by both Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Camila Giorgi before facing home favorite, Ashleigh Barty. It was a high-quality final but in the end, the German took home the title to make it nine straight victories, if you include Hopman Cup.

Kerber went into the Australian Open with nine straight victories under her belt (Nigel Owens/Action Plus/Getty Images)
Kerber went into the Australian Open with nine straight victories under her belt (Nigel Owens/Action Plus/Getty Images)

Hobart

It was double delight in two ways for Elise Mertens. The 22-year-old Belgian won her first-career tour-level title in Hobart last year and successfully defended it by defeating Mihaela Buz─ârnescu in three sets.

Mertens didn't face much trouble throughout the tournament bar the final two rounds. She went three sets in her semifinal match against Heather Watson and then in the final as well. She won the doubles title with Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands, joining Simona Halep as players to win both a singles and doubles title at the same event in 2018.

Rankings Update

Notable Risers

Camila Giorgi fires up the rankings, moving up 29 spots to 71. The Italian qualified for Sydney and enjoyed a run to the quarterfinals. Buzarnescu moved up 13 spots to 44 after reaching the final in Hobart. 

CiCi Bellis moved up seven spots to 49 after reaching the second round in Sydney. Finally, both Heather Watson and Angelique Kerber moved up six spots to 68 and 16 respectively.

Notable Fallers

Eugenie Bouchard was the biggest faller of the week, falling 29 spots to 112. The Canadian was defending semifinalist points in Sydney but chose to go to Hobart this year. The move did not pay off, losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the first round.

Duan Yingyung fell 16 spots to 100 after failing to qualify for the Sydney draw where she was defending quarterfinalist points. Monica Niculescu fell 14 spots to 99 as she walked over from her quarterfinal match against Mertens. The two had met in the Hobart final the year before.

Agnieszka Radwanska is the final player with a notable ranking drop last week. The Pole was a finalist in Sydney last year but only made it to the quarterfinals this year. She fell outside the top-30 to 35. 

Road To Singapore

Though still early days in the Road to Singapore, both Elina Svitolina and Kerber lead the race due to the fact they won titles at WTA Premier events. Belinda Bencic joins both those players on top after her run to end 2017 saw her win a couple of WTA 125K Challenger events. 

Ashleigh Barty joins the top-eight as well after her run to the finals in Sydney.

This Week's Action

The world's best have already begun their matches at the Australian Open as tennis looks to crown its first major champion of 2018.