ZHUHAI, China - She may not have come away with the title, but with her results at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, CoCo Vandeweghe has broken into the Top 10 for the very first time.
Vandeweghe made it all the way to the final of the season-ending event, and although she finished runner-up to fellow big-server Julia Goerges, the American has now risen from No.12 to No.10.
She’s just the fourth new American woman to break the Top 10 in the last 20 years, after Venus Williams (who made her Top 10 debut in 1998), Serena Williams (1999) and Madison Keys (2016).
And of the 123 total women who’ve been ranked in the Top 10 ever since WTA computer rankings were introduced in 1975, Vandeweghe is the 28th American to do it (which is approximately 23%).
It comes off of a breakthrough season, particularly at the majors. Before this year Vandeweghe’s best result at a major was one quarterfinal, at Wimbledon in 2015 (falling to Maria Sharapova). But this year she reached the quarterfinals or better at no fewer than three - yes, three - Grand Slams.
She kicked the Grand Slam season off with a run to the semifinals of the Australian Open, where she upset then-World No.1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round before eventually falling to Venus.
After falling early at the French Open, Vandeweghe made another Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, beating Caroline Wozniacki en route before eventually falling to Magdalena Rybarikova.
And she closed the Grand Slam season out with another semifinal at the US Open, stunning then-World No.1 Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals before falling to fellow American Keys in the semis.
Vandeweghe is also the first American woman other than the Williams sisters to beat a World No.1 at a major since the 2001 French Open semifinals, where Jennifer Capriati upset Martina Hingis.
“The whole summer and most of this year, I made a lot of strides into what I want to be,” the American said at the US Open. “It’s a step closer to where I want to be, but definitely not by any means the end.
“I think this year has a lot of positives to it, for sure.”
What will the 2018 season have in store for Vandeweghe? Stay tuned on Tennis Channel to find out!
Read more articles by John Berkok