2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka reached World #4 in the rankings, matching the highest ever ranking by a Japanese female player (Kimiko Date). Osaka has played very well since becoming a major champion, reaching a final and semifinal in consecutive tournaments. Kiki Bertens cemented her career-best year by reaching the Top 10 for the first time on the back of winning 3 titles in 2018. She becomes the first Dutch woman to reach this height since Brenda Shultz-McCarthy. Bertens just edged out Aryna Sabalenka, who is at #11 in the rankings and clearly poised to go higher. Sabalenka was the only player to take a set off of Osaka in New York and won the Wuhan Open and followed that up by defeating Garbine Muguruza in Beijing, where she reached the quarterfinals. Sabalenka first reached the Top 100 for the first time almost exactly a year ago.
FEDERER, DJOKOVIC AND DEL POTRO IN RACE FOR WORLD #2.
The 2018 US Open finalists Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro are in the hunt to replace Roger Federer at the World #2 spot. Federer is the defending champion at the Shanghai Masters (which has one of the fastest court speeds on the ATP Tour). All Djokovic reaches the final in Shanghai he will be the new world #2, and has a chance to end the year at World #1 by doing well at the year-end championships in London, which he as won 5 times already. Del Potro has to hope the Serbian loses before the semifinals and that he wins the title to reach world #2. In the unlikely event that happens, a streak of 13 years where the top 2 spots have been held by members of the big 4 (Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) will come to a close.
HALEP LIKELY TO END 2018 AS YEAR-END #1
Since Angie Kerber lost early in Beijing, Simona Halep should be able to maintain her lead at the top spot through the Year-End Tour Championships in Singapore. Wozniacki is the defending champion so she can't increase her points total to challenge Halep at the top of the WTA rankings, despite winning her 30th career title in Beijing last weekend.