Li, Peng vault to historic rankings
Updated: 2014-02-19 08:54
By China Daily (China Daily)
Li Na and Peng Shuai have set national records for Chinese tennis following their rise to career-high rankings in the latest Women's Tennis Association rankings released on Monday.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Li has become the first Asian player to hold the world No 2 singles ranking, while Peng is the first Chinese player to ascend to the WTA world No 1 doubles ranking.
"I would like to congratulate Li Na and Peng Shuai on their achievements and rise up the WTA rankings to respective career highs," said Stacey Allaster, WTA chairman and CEO.
"As they have done throughout their careers, both players continue to set new milestones for Chinese tennis. Their accomplishments are truly inspirational, and the WTA is fortunate to have such ambassadors representing the sport around the world.
"I am also thrilled that with a record number of WTA events to be held in Asia-Pacific in 2014, culminating in the WTA Championships in Singapore, Asian fans will have a unique opportunity to see their heroines in action in the months and years ahead."
Li has started the 2014 season in outstanding form, amassing a 13-1 record and winning the Australian Open and Shenzhen Open, taking her haul of WTA singles titles to nine.
Having already held the record for highest ranked Asian player in history at No 3, which she achieved following her runner-up finish at the 2013 WTA Championships in Istanbul, the 31-year-old has now bettered that mark.
"To go to No 2 in the world is definitely a proud accomplishment for me and my team," said Li.
"We have worked very hard and look to improve every week. It is an exciting time for tennis in China, and I am confident younger players will do better than what we have achieved."
Meanwhile, Peng said: "To be No 1 was a goal of mine this year. We were very close at the end of last year. It is something I have worked very hard for.
"With Li Na going to No 2 in singles and Hsieh Su-wei taking the No 2 doubles ranking, this is a big breakthrough for Asian tennis. We are looking forward to the rest of the year and hopefully the WTA Championships in Singapore."
Now 28, Peng teamed with Chinese Taipei's Hsieh for a breakthrough year in 2013. They won five doubles titles, highlighted by their first major championship at Wimbledon. Hsieh became the first player from Chinese Taipei and Peng the fifth Chinese mainland player to win a Grand Slam title of any kind.
The duo concluded the year by becoming the first team from Asia to win the WTA Championships in Istanbul. They also raised the champions' trophy at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (Rome), the Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati) and the Guangzhou Open.
Following their success at last week's Qatar Total Open in Doha, the pair now has a perfect 10-0 record in doubles finals.
Additionally, Hsieh moved to a career-high doubles ranking of No 2 - the highest ever for a player from Chinese Taipei.
Having successfully defended its Australian Open doubles title last month, the Italian pair of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci remain on top of the Road to Singapore standings, which reflects year-to-date results in 2014.
(China Daily 02/19/2014 page23)