…not Li Na, who today was officially confirmed as the number 2 player in the world, but Peng Shuai, who has just risen to the top of the rankings – in doubles.
Peng (above left), whose usual partner is Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei (above right), won the Qatar Open this weekend, their 10th WTA doubles title as a partnership, maintaining their perfect record of having never lost in a Tour final. Hsieh rises to number 2 in the world, since Peng has won more points: the two almost always play together, but Peng won the Pattaya Open in Thailand earlier this year with Zhang Shuai, and hence has a greater number of ranking points.
In a phenomenal 12 months for the pair, they’ve now won six tournaments, including Wimbledon (remember the “controversy”?) and the WTA Championships. Peng returns home to Tianjin this week to celebrate, while Hsieh heads to Brazil for the inaugural Rio open, where she will partner her younger sister Hsieh Shu-Ying, whom she also bankrolls.
Granted, doubles tennis is far less popular with TV audiences than singles globally – even though it’s often much more entertaining to watch – but this is still a fantastic achievement by Peng and Hsieh. Hsieh shouldn’t have too many financial worries for the foreseeable future, and looks like it might be time for someone in the Peng camp to dust off her inactive Sina Weibo account…