USA secure in Global Cup top spot after October

Sloane Stephens (USA), runner-up in the Tennis WTA Finals in October

By winning the monthly ranking in September and October, the USA has all but secured victory in the 2018 Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations.

The USA now has a margin of 1,273 points over second-placed France, which should be more than enough to win its 11th Global Cup title in succession. To put France’s performance in perspective though, this is one of the closest title races in recent years: the USA won 2017 with a margin of 3,298 points over France, and 2016 with a margin of 3,232 points, again over France, now the recognised number two world sporting powerhouse. To finish anything less than 1,500 points behind the USA would be a major achievement. For the record, the closest year ever was 2009, when Russia lost to the USA by 1,066 points.
After a month busy with Wrestling and Volleyball tournaments, Russia and Japan both leapfrogged the country ahead of them in the table, and are now third and fifth respectively. For Japan, this is the highest position in the last five years, better than its recent top result, 7th in 2016, and with the Karate World Championships scheduled in November, 2018 could turn out to be one of the country’s best years ever.
China was the most improved country in the top 10 after October. In fact, it finally entered the world’s elite by finishing fourth in the monthly ranking, thanks chiefly to a third place in the Volleyball Women’s World Championships, and is now in seventh place overall, having gained four places in the year-to-date ranking.
If the table’s top two places are virtually secure, there are four countries within 327 points from third to sixth place, and two months of competitions still to go, so the race for third place should be an exciting one to follow.