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Who is Arina Rodionova? Five facts about oldest woman to reach WTA top 100 rankings

Published at :February 9, 2024 at 6:07 AM
Modified at :February 9, 2024 at 6:07 AM
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(Courtesy : Yahoo Sports)

Mohammed Fazeel

She surpassed Israel’s Tzipora Obziler to make the oldest woman record her own.

Arina Rodionova began her tennis professional career in Russia in 2004 on the ITF Circuit. Her WTA tour debut came at the Ladies Kremlin Cup in 2006, losing in qualifying, and a main draw debut came in 2008 at Fez, Morocco, where she reached the Round of 16. Arina has played doubles intermittently along with elder sister Anastasia Rodionova, with their most notable achievement as a team coming at the 2010 Malaysian Open, reaching the final before losing to Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie.

Facts about Arina Rodionova

Rodionova is in top 100 rankings for the first time

Arina Rodionova rose four places to a career-high world No.97, climbing four spots, following her two consecutive top-100 wins in Thailand last week. Russian-origin Rodionova entered the record books by becoming the oldest woman to break into the world’s top 100 for the first time. She is the first 34-year-old to break into the top 100, and for the first time in her career, 20 years after she began playing professionally in Russia. 

The veteran Aussie reached the milestone when she beat Bai Zhuoxuan 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the Thailand Open in Hua Hin to book the quarterfinal spot and make her way into the list of top hundred players.

Booked herself a first quarter-final appearance since 2017  

Rodionova defeated Chinese player Zhuoxuan Bai in three sets, dropping only one game in the second and third sets to make her first quarter-final appearance since 2017 at the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, China, seven years ago. She knocked out another Chinese, Yue Yuan, in the first round at Thailand but fell to World No. 45 Lin Zhu — the third Chinese she ran into during the week, in the quarterfinals with a straight-set loss. 

Broke a long-standing record in Thailand

Arina Rodionova is the oldest player on the WTA tour to find herself in the top 100. She is only the fifth player over 30 to make their debut in the top 100 since the introduction of the WTA Tour singles rankings in 1975. Rodionova has reached this milestone at 34 years and 52 days, moving past Israel’s Tzipora Obziler, who had held that record for the past 17 years.

Obziler was 33 years and 10 months old in February 2007 when she made the top 100 for the first time. The milestone was confirmed when the updated WTA rankings were announced, continuing the Australian’s late-career surge.

Rodionova was overlooked for an Australian Open 2024 wildcard

Arina Rodionova, ranked World No. 104 during the Australian Open 2024 fortnight ago, is the highest-ranked Australian woman tennis player per the WTA rankings. Rodionova took out the 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin at the Brisbane International. But she was overlooked by Tennis Australia, and the local wildcards were handed to Kimberly Birrell (123), Olivia Gadecki (133), and Taylah Preston (194). 

The veteran female player was later knocked out in the qualifiers by Frenchwoman Leolia Jeanjean. Rodionova suffered a wrist injury in July 2022, sidelining her for six months and could have been the end of her career.

Instead, she bounced back from the career-threatening injury to win no less than seven ITF titles in 2023. In a breakthrough year, the Australian climbed from World No. 297 at the beginning of 2023 to No. 113 on January 1, 2024.

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Rodionova has enjoyed success on the ITF Circuit

Arina Rodionova’s titles have largely come from her participation on the ITF circuit. She has 16 singles and 44 doubles titles to her name on the women’s circuit. Of her seven ITF titles in 2023, two were at the W-60 level and took from Slovakia to Canada in her quest for trophies. 

Additionally, she has also won a singles title on the WTA Challenger Tour in Ningbo, China, and a WTA 125 doubles title at Hua Hin, Thailand. In 2007 came the highlight of her career, when she won the Australian Open girl’s doubles title in the company of fellow Russian Evgeniya Rodina.

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