Kiki Bertens has reached the highest position ever of a Dutch tennis star in the world ranking. The 27-year-old found herself in fourth place on Monday morning. Bertens surpasses the performance of Betty Stöve, who came in fifth place in 1977 after she had reached the Wimbledon final.

“I know that I have done something very special,” said Bertens “I keep trying to improve myself every day, hopefully I can get even higher.”

Bertens climbed the global ranking from seventh to fourth thanks to her tournament victory in Madrid. This young player from Wateringen made history on the Spanish clay by being the first to win the highly regarded tournament without losing a set. With Jelena Ostapenko, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep, she beat four grand slam winners and earned some 1.2 million euros in prize money.

Rome and Paris

Bertens immediately traveled from Madrid to Rome, where she joined in the second round. She will be facing the winner of the duel between the American ‘lucky loser’ Amanda Anisimova (17) and Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the 18-year-old Italian who has been admitted with a wildcard. Bertens, place in sixth, has no points to defend in Italy, because last year she lost in the first round. “Hopefully it will be a few nice weeks on clay,” says Bertens. She is one of the favorites for the title at the Roland Garros tournament in Paris at the end of this month.

Photo: Steven Pisano