In February, we published a story about an emerging group of youngsters all enjoying breakthroughs in the weeks following Australian Open 2023.
As the season unfolds, some of them have continued to kick on in a big way – none more so than Anastasia Potapova.
The 22-year-old, who rose to world No.31 following her WTA triumph in Linz during the first week of February, has since cracked the top 25.
She flourished during the Sunshine Double, where it took third-ranked Jessica Pegula to stop her in three bruising sets at both Indian Wells and Miami.
Potapova beat Marta Kostyuk, Coco Gauff and Zheng Qinwen en route to the Miami Open quarters, where she led Pegula 5-3 in the third set and held two match points before succumbing after two hours and 36 minutes.
But she quickly shrugged off that disappointment; entering the WTA 500 event in Stuttgart at a career-best ranking of 24th, she progressed to the biggest semifinal of her career.
That week in Germany saw her beat two top-10 opponents in Gauff and Caroline Garcia.
Of the others we profiled in February, none have risen as high as Potapova, yet career-high rankings have been a running theme in 2023.
Alycia Parks hit a peak of world No.49 after reaching the third round in Madrid, where she completed a straight-sets upset of Victoria Azarenka.
It was a welcome return to form for the 22-year-old American, who lost eight of her next 10 matches in the aftermath of her first WTA tournament title in Lyon.
It has been a similar story for China’s Wu Yibing, who after winning his maiden ATP title in Dallas has won just two of his subsequent six matches.
Still, the 23-year-old ascended to world No.55 in mid April, making him the highest-ranked Chinese man in history.
Wu, who until this year had never played a tour-level match on clay, notched his first win of the clay-court season over Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Rome Masters on Wednesday.
He will take on 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo for a place in the last 32.
In the week after we published our initial story, Arthur Fils beat Stan Wawrinka to advance to a second consecutive ATP semifinal, this time in Marseille.
The result elevated him to a career-high ranking of world No.104.
An ankle injury sustained in March halted his momentum and he has since slipped back to 119th. But the young Frenchman has shown positive signs again during the clay-court season.
He advanced to the quarterfinals of the Aix-en-Provence ATP Challenger – won by Andy Murray – where he pushed former world No.7 David Goffin to a final-set tiebreak, and subsequently qualified for the main draw at the Rome Masters, then won his opening-round match against Juan Manuel Cerundolo.
The results are especially encouraging ahead of his home Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros, beginning in less than three weeks.
Meanwhile, since winning in Cordoba, Sebastian Baez has continued to succeed on red dirt.
The Argentine rounded out the Latin clay-court swing with a quarterfinal in Rio and semifinal in Santiago, and since transitioning to European clay has posted a quarterfinal in Estoril and a trip to the third round of the Madrid Masters.
This week he is through to the second round in Rome.
Having fallen as low as 47th upon entering Cordoba in February, Baez restored his ranking to world No.30 by mid April.
With 12 clay-court match wins already in 2023, it bodes well ahead of Roland Garros.