Australian Open 2019: Naomi Osaka becomes first ever Asian World No. 1, ends Simona Halep's 48-week stay atop WTA rankings

The Associated Press
One might argue that having won two back-to-back Grand Slams, Osaka has nothing to prove at the moment. On the contrary, it is now, out of her true comfort zone, having to maintain momentum after summiting the peak, as it were, that her harshest tests will come.

Melbourne: Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka is the first player from Asia to top the men's or women's tennis rankings €" and the youngest woman to make her debut at No. 1 in nine years.

"I feel like I'm literally just still learning," the 21-year-old Osaka said, adding, "everyone kind of adjusts to being No. 1 in a different way."

Simona Halep's 48-week stay atop the WTA rankings ended on Monday as she slid to No. 3 after a fourth-round loss to Serena Williams, one year after getting to the final at Melbourne Park.

"The main goal is just to play as good as I can every match, to win every match I play, so the ranking doesn't really matter," Halep said.

Halep said the year-end ranking is what is "more important" than where things stand now, "so I will not stress myself about this."

Osaka's second consecutive major title, following her success at the US Open last year, helped her rise three spots.

She was born in Japan €" her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian €" and moved to the United States when she was 3. She has dual citizenship and now is based in Florida.

Osaka is the youngest woman to reach the top since 2010, when Caroline Wozniacki did it at 20.

"People were talking about (me) being No. 1 if I win this tournament. I was able to accomplish that. But the ranking was never my real goal. It was just to win this tournament," Osaka said.

The runner-up at Melbourne Park, Petra Kvitova, jumped from No. 6 to No. 2. Sloane Stephens is No. 4, and Karolina Pliskova went from No. 8 to No. 5.

Williams missed the 2018 tournament after having a baby; her quarter-final run this time pushed her up five places to No. 11.

Surprise semi-finalist Danielle Collins, a 25-year-old from Florida, climbed from No. 35 to No. 23. The woman she upset in the fourth round, three-time major champion Angelique Kerber, dropped from No. 2 to No. 6.

Novak Djokovic's record seventh Australian Open title allowed him to stay at No. 1 in the ATP rankings, and Rafael Nadal's runner-up showing kept him at No. 2.

But 2017-18 champion Roger Federer's fourth-round exit took him from No. 3 down to No. 6.

The player who beat Federer, 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, turned his first run to a Grand Slam semifinal into a career-best ranking of No. 12.

Latest WTA rankings:

1. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7,030 pts (+3)

2. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6,290 (+4)

3. Simona Halep (ROM) 5,582 (-2)

4. Sloane Stephens (USA) 5,307 (+1)

5. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5,100 (+3)

6. Angelique Kerber (GER) 4,965 (-4)

7. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 4,940

8. Kiki Bertens (NED) 4,430 (+1)

9. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 3,566 (-6)

10. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 3,485 (+1)

 

Latest ATP rankings:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,955 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,320

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,475 (+1)

5. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 5,060 (+1)

6. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,845 (+1)

6. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-3)

7. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,110 (+2)

8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,960

9. John Isner (USA) 3,155 (+1)

10. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,140 (-3)

Also See: Australian Open 2019, women's semi-final preview: Big-hitters take centrestage in absence of the big names

Australian Open 2019: Petra Kvitova storms into maiden Melbourne final after straight sets win over Danielle Collins

Australian Open 2019: Petra Kvitova needs to be in her 'bubble' to find killer instinct against Naomi Osaka, says coach Jiri Vanek

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