Tennis

Pliskova the new No. 1 without hitting a ball

Czech Karolina Pliskova rose to the top of the WTA rankings without striking a ball yesterday morning (Singapore time), as results at Wimbledon saw her overhaul Germany's Angelique Kerber.

By a quirk of the points-based ranking system, the 25-year-old rose to the summit - the 23rd player to do so - thanks to Simona Halep's quarter-final loss to Johanna Konta.

Romanian Halep would have become world No. 1 had she beaten the Briton, but she went down 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Bizarrely, Pliskova, the third seed at Wimbledon, lost in the second round to Magdalena Rybarikova but her consistent results this year, including reaching the French Open semi-finals, means she will be the top-ranked player when the rankings are updated on Monday.

Pliskova posted on Instagram: "Although right now I am not celebrating a victory on the court, I have become the world No. 1. And this really means a lot to me.

"Actually, I can't even realise what I have achieved."

Despite never having won a Grand Slam tournament, the Monte-Carlo based player becomes the first Czech to reach the top since the rankings were introduced in 1975.

Czech-born Martina Navratilova, who won 18 singles Majors, became No. 1 in 1978, but was representing the US by then.

"Karolina is an exemplary athlete on and off the court and she truly deserves this fantastic moment in her career," WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon said.

Pliskova has won three titles this year - in Brisbane, Doha and the Wimbledon warm-up event at Eastbourne.

Kerber, who spent a total of 34 weeks as world No. 1, needed to reach the Wimbledon final to have a chance of hanging on to the top spot, but was beaten by Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the last 16 on Monday.

For Halep, it is a case of try and try again.

She would have become No. 1 had she beaten Jelena Ostapenko in the French Open final, and faltered again against Konta after coming within two points of victory. - REUTERS
Wimbledon