Arina Rodionova, the top-ranked Australian tennis player, has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the oldest woman to enter the world’s top 100 rankings for the first time.
On Thursday night at the Thailand Open in Hua Hin, the 34-year-old reached her highest career ranking by defeating Chinese player Bai Zhuoxuan with a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Reworded: Rodionova’s win guarantees her a spot in the top 100 at the age of 34 years and 52 days, which will be announced in the next WTA rankings on Monday. This marks a remarkable rise in her career, which has been partly fueled by her determination.
After two decades of professional tennis in Russia, Rodionova has finally reached the top-100 ranking.
Australia’s top-ranked female player was denied a wildcard for the Australian Open by Tennis Australia last month. She was then eliminated in the qualifiers.
Rodionova disclosed that she perceived herself as a target of personal animosity from the governing authority.
I have no regrets from today except for giving Tennis Australia something to celebrate, Rodionova stated boldly following her defeat in the first round of qualifying in Melbourne.
I believe they are extremely satisfied with my performance today, which is what bothers me.
In 2023, Rodionova had a successful year, winning seven ITF singles titles at the lower level. This achievement came after she bounced back from a significant wrist injury.
After her participation in the Australian Open, the player from Russia has once again caught the attention of authorities by becoming the sole Australian woman ranked in the top 100.
At present, she holds the 101st position, but her performance in Hua Hin will potentially boost her ranking to 96th when the updated rankings are released. This is a noteworthy advancement for a player who was ranked 302nd at the beginning of 2023.
If Rodionova is victorious in the tournament, she could potentially rise to the brink of the top-70 rankings.
The second-highest ranked Australian is Kim Birrell at 124th place.
After making a strong comeback and winning the final 11 consecutive games against 21-year-old Bai, Rodionova has secured her place in only her second tour-level quarter-final in her career.
Seven years ago, the last time she reached the quarter-finals was in Nanchang, China.
After defeating two Chinese opponents in her previous matches, Rodionova will now face a third one, the second seed Zhu Lin, on Friday.
Zhu, ranked as the world’s 45th player, secured her spot in the quarterfinals alongside two other Chinese players by defeating Linda Fruhvirtova with a score of 6-2 6-2.
On Friday, Rodionova will also participate in the semifinals of the doubles tournament with her Chinese partner Yuan Yue, whom she defeated in the first round of the singles event.