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Muguruza, Nadal do Spain proud

GARBINE Muguruza made her debut at No. 1 on Monday, joining US Open champion Rafael Nadal in making Spain the first country since the United States 14 years ago to top the WTA and ATP rankings.

Andre Agassi and Serena Williams were both No. 1 in 2003.

Muguruza, the Wimbledon champion in July, rose two spots from No. 3 on Monday after getting to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows for the first time. She is the 24th woman to lead the WTA since it introduced computer rankings in 1975 — and the second Spaniard, after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Muguruza takes over at No. 1 from Karolina Pliskova, who fell to No. 4 with a quarterfinal defeat in New York one year after finishing as the runner-up. Entering the US Open, eight women had a chance to top the rankings by the end of the tournament.

The day she won Wimbledon for her second major championship, Muguruza was asked about what sort of priority she placed on getting to No. 1.

“My motivation is just to be able to be a good tennis player — a good tennis player, and to come to the Grand Slams and be a threat. The ranking is temporary,” she said at the time.

“I don’t know what it feels to be No. 1. Hopefully one day I can. And then I (will) compare,” Muguruza said. “But for now, I’d rather be (No.) 10 and win Grand Slams, than be No. 1.”

The woman who won the year’s last Grand Slam tournament, Sloane Stephens, jumped to No. 17 from No. 83 by beating Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in the US Open final on Saturday, continuing her quick rise after having surgery on her left foot in January and going 11 months between tour appearances. Stephens was outside the top 900 at the start of August.

Keys is up four spots to No. 12 after reaching a maiden Grand Slam final.

Simona Halep stayed at No. 2 on the WTA list, while seven-time major champion Venus Williams’ semifinal run in New York pushed the 37-year-old up four spots to No. 5, her first time in the top five since January 2011. Her sister Serena, who gave birth to her first child during the US Open, drops out of the top 20 for the first time in six years.

Angelique Kerber, who made her first appearance at No. 1 after winning the US Open last year, fell to No. 14 from No. 8 after becoming only the second defending women’s champion in the professional era to lose in the first round.

Maria Sharapova, who reached the fourth round in her first Grand Slam appearance after serving a doping ban, is closing back in on the top 100.

Nadal remained at No. 1 by winning his second Grand Slam trophy of the season and 16th of his career with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kevin Anderson in the final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday. The man who won the year’s other two major titles, 19-time major winner Roger Federer, moved up one place to No. 2.

Anderson went from 32nd to 17th by reaching his first Grand Slam final. He was the lowest-ranked US Open men’s finalist since the ATP computer rankings began 44 years ago.

Nadal, 31, had retaken the world No. 1 spot from Andy Murray the week before winning his third US Open title, and now holds a substantial lead over reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Federer, 36.

Murray missed the final major tournament of the season with a hip injury.

German youngster Alexander Zverev moved to a career-high ranking of fourth despite suffering a shock second-round loss to Borna Coric at Flushing Meadows.


 

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