Career-high WTA Tour rankings | February 5

FOLLOWING the first week of tournaments in February, five players – including three inside the top 100 – moved up to career-highs. Two of those entered the top 50 for the first time, and we take a look at how they, along with the other bolters have stepped up.

Clara Burel (France)
24/03/2001 | Previous best: #51 | Career-high: #44 (+8)

The French talent enters the top 50 for the first time and is coming off a handy start to the season. After a third round appearance in Brisbane – losing to the in-form Victoria Azarenka – thanks to an upset win over 12th seeded Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, Burel suffered a disappointing three-set loss to second seeded American Emma Navarro in Hobart.

Bouncing back at Melbourne Park, Burel would take a massive scalp in top fie talent, Jessica Pegula before bowing out at the hands of compatriot, Oceane Dodin. Her rise into the top 50 came via the WTA 500 Linz Open last week where she reached the quarter finals thanks to a three-set victory over Katerina Siniakova and Austrian Sinja Kraus, before suffering defeat at the hands of Croatian third seed, Donna Vekic.

Katie Boulter (Great Britain)
01/08/1996 | Previous best: #50 | Career-high: #48 (+5)

Bouter is the other player to enter the top 50 for the first time, rising five spots into number 48. She started her year at the United Cup where she knocked off Pegula along with Australian Ajla Tomljanovic. Though it was not enough to progress, she continued that form into Adelaide qualifiers where she defeated back-to-back Americans Alycia Parks and Ashlyn Krueger before a disappointing defeat to Ana Bogdan.

At Melbourne Park, Boulter fought past Yue Yuan, before running into eventual finalist, Qinwen Zheng in the Round of 64. At Linz, she again got through to the second match, defeating sixth seeded Jasmine Paolini before yet again going down to the eventual finalist, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The win in each of the events was enough to see her move up from number 53.

Arina Rodionova (Australia)
15/12/1989 | Previous best: #101 | Career-high: #97 (+4)

The top ranked Australian on the WTA Tour finally cracked a career milestone, with the 34-year-old earning her place inside the top 100 for the first time. Her form is warranted coming off an incredible 2023 season, and though her Brisbane International promised much – with good wins over Martina Trevisan and Sofia Kenin – her next two losses were forgettable.

She was blitzed by Mirra Andreeva 6-1 6-1 in the Round of 16 at Brisbane then bowing out meekly to Frenchwoman Leolia Jeanjean in the first round of qualifying at the Australian Open. Rodionova then headed to Thailand where she played in the Hua Hin Championships. There she knocked off Yuan and Zhuoxuan Bai in three sets, before losing to second seed Lin Zhu. The Aussie is the fourth seed in a WTA 125 event in Mumbai this week.

Maria Lourdes Carle (Argentina)
10/02/2000 | Previous best: #110 | Career-high: #107 (+3)

Arguably the most in-form player outside the top 100 over the past couple of months, Carle has been on a red-hot tear since November. Entering the WTA125 Argentina Open ranked 175th, Carle reached the final, defeating the likes of top seed Diane Parry and Argentinian seventh seed Julia Riera along the way. From her first round win over Brazilian Gabriela Ce, Carle has since gone 17-4 in two months.

While that form has largely come on the ITF Tour, her form at WTA 125 level – which included a final and semi-final backed up her ITF form of a title at Vero Beach alongside a semi-final and quarter final appearance either side of that in South and North America respectively. Now into 107th in the world, Carle is in the region where she can automatically qualify for lower level WTA Tour events, and the 23-year-old – who turns 24 in four days – could be a danger on either clay or hardcourt.

Hayley Baptiste (United States)
03/11/2001 | Previous best: #119 | Career-high: #114 (+7)

There is no shortage of American early-to-mid 20s WTA Tour players, and Baptiste is one of those, having turned 22 in November last year. After back-to-back semi-final appearances at ITF level in the United States, Baptiste has moved up to a career-high 114th in the world, rising seven spots. Unfortunately she failed to qualify for the Australian Open main draw, but did so at Brisbane where she pushed former Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins in the first round there.

The knock on Baptiste is the fact she consistently impresses at ITF or Challenger levels, but often plays across the American circuit. Prior to heading Down Under this Summer, Baptiste’s last match outside the American continent was in July where she lost first round of qualifiers at the Palermo Ladies Open. She did win an ITF title in Italy back in June, as well as knocking off Xiyu Wang back in April last year at Charleston Open.

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