Melbourne VIC, Australia, 27 September 2016 | tennis.com.au

Aussie Christopher O’Connell has gone up a level.

And that statement is true in many ways – whether it be the standard of tennis he’s playing, the tournaments he’s contesting, or the ranking he’s achieved.

The Sydneysider this week vaulted 56 places to world No.281, a career-high ranking for the 22-year-old.

> see where the Aussies stand in the latest ATP rankings

It was a move that followed on from his semifinal finish at the ATP Challenger event in Sibiu, Romania.

Prior to September, O’Connell played exclusively on the ITF Futures circuit in 2016.

Yet after winning three Futures titles and boosting his ranking from No.570 at the beginning of January – he dipped as low as 636th in late February – to inside the top 350 by late August, he was ready to take the step up to Challenger level.

In just his third ever Challenger tournament of his career outside of Australia, O’Connell qualified for the main draw in Seville, Spain.

Just two weeks later, he advanced to the semis in Sibiu as a qualifier, beating world No.84 Gerald Melzer en route.

He now sits just a few places outside the Australian top 10 – Sam Groth, at world No.257, is just 24 rankings places above him.

> view the latest Australian rankings

Groth improved 12 places after reaching the second round of the Columbus Challenger in Ohio, US.

John-Patrick Smith rose 31 spots to No.280 after progressing to the semifinals at the same tournament.

Another mover was Matt Ebden Рthe West Australian, playing his first event after being injured since February, advanced to the second round of the Kaohsiung Challenger in Korea and crept up 14 places to 283rd.

And Dayne Kelly, who won the ITF Futures title in Thu Dau Mot City, Vietnam, rose 30 places to No.323.

> view the latest WTA rankings

On the women’s side, Arina Rodionova moved up eight places to world No.186 after winning through to the second round of qualifying at the WTA Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.