Sunday 24 September 2017 / 05:54 AM

MUGURUZA DETHRONES PLISKOVA FOR NO.1 RANKING

Garbine Muguruza is set to become the new world number one when the updated rankings are released on Monday.

Muguruza, who is currently ranked second in the world, will dethrone Karolina Pliskova at the peak, even though she lost in the third round of the US Open.

Pliskova needed to at least match her 2016 result and reach the final at Flushing Meadows to reserve her top spot.

But the fiery Coco Vandeweghe defeated the Czech 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the quarterfinal.

Muguruza tweeted her excitement about reaching the summit of the WTA rankings.

“I’m very excited to share with all of you my dream of becoming the next world number one on Monday,” she said in a video message.

“I would never be in this position without the help of my family, my team, and my fans. Like I said before it’s a dream come true, so hopefully I can keep it up as long as possible.”

The Spaniard is a two-time grand slam champion but this is the first time she has reached the top of the rankings.

Pliskova’s reign lasted eight weeks but she never shied away from admitting she felt the extra pressure as the world number one.

“I don’t care,” Pliskova said when asked about losing her ranking, admitting she failed to live up to her own high expectations at the US Open.

“I don’t think something is going to change if you are number two. I don’t see any difference between this. So for me, no changes.

“This pressure, what I had here, this tournament, it was something new for me. So I never felt like this before.

“I was never actually defending a final of a grand slam. So it was totally different.

“Maybe I’m going to feel better on the next grand slams.”

Meanwhile Vandeweghe will face compatriot Madison Keys in an all-American semi-final, as they battle it out for a maiden grand slam final appearance.

It’s the first time four Americans have made the women’s semi-finals at the US Open since 1981, when Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova for the title. Chris Evert and Barbara Potter also made the last four.

It’s also likely we could see another first-time grand slam champion with Venus Williams the only player left standing who has already won a major title.

She will face Sloane Stephens in the other semi-final battle. Stephens actually boasts the 1-0 win-loss advantage against her more experienced countrywoman but they have not played against each other since that first meeting at the 2015 French Open.

Similar to Muguruza, Williams’ ranking is also poised to rise when the updated rankings are released on Monday.

The former world number one has kept her dream alive of reclaiming the top spot with a resurgent run in New York and she is guaranteed to at least rise back into the top five.

The 83rd-ranked Stephens is also projected to climb into the top 35 and can reach as high as number 21 by reaching the final and as high as number 15 by winning the title. It’s a far cry from her plummet to 957th in the world during her long injury lay-off.

Vandeweghe will also climb from number 22 in the world, given she didn’t have any points to defend this fortnight because she lost in the first round last year, while 16th ranked Madison Keys is also set to rise because she’s improved on her fourth round appearance last season.

Muguruza and Williams were two of eight players who had the opportunity to leave Flushing Meadows atop the world rankings.

Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elina Svitolina sacrificed their opportunity to overtake Pliskova when they failed to reach the quarterfinals.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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