Coco Vandeweghe’s Ranking Surge at 2017 Australian Open

American player Coco Vandeweghe is into the semifinals with a reasonable chance to make the final at the 2017 Australian Open.

Coco Vandeweghe has reached new heights on tour as the 25-year old American is into the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. The route to the semifinals has not been easy as the last three rounds of play have seen her eliminate Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, and Garbine Muguruza. The American may yet make the final and maybe even win the tournament as she could be a favorite against Venus Williams in the next round.

Vandeweghe gave Muguruza no hope in the quarterfinal match, one that ended 6-4, 6-0. With the semifinal result alone, Vandeweghe is into the Top 20 on live rankings and a further rise could still be looked at. However, at this point getting into the Top 10 does not appear directly attainable with the results from Melbourne Park. A title would likely see her settle into the World No. 13 position with improvements from there likely.

But, first things first, Vandeweghe will need to defeat Venus Williams in the semifinals before any further gains in the rankings are possible. The two players do not have an extensive history against one another with Venus defeating Coco in Rome last season on clay.

The all-American semifinal is interesting in that it features a veteran 36 year old player doing damage in Melbourne Park more than a decade after a similar performance at the same venue. Venus Williams has not been to the Australian Open semifinals since way back in 2003 when she finished 2nd in the tournament. Meanwhile Vandeweghe is into her first semifinal in a major.

With Venus, if she can get into the final then it would resurrect talks of a possible career Grand Slam. She has never won the Australian Open before and she’s still missing the French Open title. With a win in the semifinals and a win this weekend, she would enter Roland Garros 2017 later this season with at least a chance to complete the career Slam. That is a topic that has otherwise been abandoned for years.

With Vandeweghe, I think the question might be one of opportunism as well. From my point of view she’s playing better than Venus, a player that has survived a very weak quarter. However, it certainly won’t be every tournament where Coco makes a charge like this. Coco needs the win to inject herself into the limelight at what has to be called the early-to-mid stage of her career. Williams needs the win to give herself a chance to address a title that she missed out on during her prime and perhaps complete the career Grand Slam.

Shane Lambert