Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - This should be a week to remember for affable German star Andrea Petkovic, who will break back into the Top 10 for the first time in three years when the new WTA rankings are released next week.
It's a happy ending to what has been a roller coaster last few years for one of the more popular players on the circuit.
Petko's first taste of the Top 10 came back in 2011, a season in which she reached her first three career Grand Slam quarterfinals -- at the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. She was the only player to reach the quarters or better at three of the four majors that year. And her world ranking was most certainly rewarded for that kind of performance on the biggest of stages, as she surged as high as No. 9 in the world that October.
But the next year and a half was about as unfortunate as it could get, as a bevy of injuries -- back, ankle and knee -- contributed to her missing more than half of 2012 and the early stages of 2013. In October '12 -- exactly a year after reaching that career-best No. 9 -- she plummeted as low as No. 192 on the planet.
But her obvious tennis talent, hard work and fighting spirit kept Petkovic going.
Brick by brick she constructed her comeback, landing back inside the Top 40 by the end of '13 and, after capturing three WTA titles and appearing in her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros, finishing last year all the way up at No. 14.
And now, by virtue of her results at this week's Diamond Games in Antwerp, Petko will finally return to that elite group -- the Top 10. She hasn't been ranked that high since the spring of 2012.
Petkovic reached the quarterfinals in Antwerp in style this week. Facing Belgian crowd favorite Alison Van Uytvanck in her opening match of the tournament, the determined German had to fight off an extraordinary eight match points down a set and 5-6 before eventually sneaking out the second set and going on to defeat her wild card counterpart/rising star in three sets in a grueling 3-hour, 19-minute war of attrition.
Starting on Monday, the 27-year-old native of the former Yugoslavia and five- time WTA champion will be spending her 27th career week inside the Top 10, with the first 26 weeks coming non-consecutively between August 8, 2011 and April 1, 2012.
Maybe now Petkovic also will start to enjoy some more Grand Slam success. She was an opening-round loser at the Aussie last month and has reached the second round at a major only once since the 2011 U.S. Open. Petko was a surprise semifinalist at last year's French, but has failed to get past the third round at the last three Slams, including a first-round flameout against unheralded American Madison Brengle in Melbourne.
At the time of this article, Petkovic was ready to play a quarterfinal in Antwerp, seeking her fourth win in only seven matches this year. Last week, she helped her beloved Germany whip Australia, 4-1, in a Fed Cup quarterfinal in Stuttgart, going a perfect 2-0 in her singles rubbers. As a matter of fact, she clinched the best-of-five tie for the Germans with a victory in her reverse singles match at Porsche Arena.
Germany will battle host Russia in a Fed Cup semifinal in April, and barring an unusual circumstance (injury), Petko should be on hand for that tussle.