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Is 2011 the End of an Era in Women’s Tennis?

Posted on April 20, 2011 by Pete South

It seems likely that the dominance of the Williams sisters in women's tennis is coming to a close.

2011 could be the year that the latest distinct era in women’s tennis comes to an end. The 2000s was the decade of the Williams sisters and there is little doubt the pair, with 20 slams in the family trophy cabinet, are nearing the end of their careers. Even if they do not retire this year they will no longer be at their dominant best, with Venus’s best years long behind her.

Justine Henin, winner of seven majors in the same era has already retired this year and Kim Clijsters, the other member of the recent big four, has not set her targets beyond the rest of the current season. But who will replace these star names as they step aside for the new guard?

Along with the Williams sisters and Clijsters, there are four other players in the current top 20 with a major to their name, but age, injuries and loss of form suggests Francesca Schiavone, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic are ill-equipped to become dominant forces. For fans of sports betting, the next few months could be very interesting indeed.

World number one Caroline Wozniacki appears a multiple-slam winner in the making. The 20-year-old has the best all-round game amongst the new guard and her growing experience in the latter stages of slams means she should be the one to beat when the path to major glory becomes slightly clearer. However, those who bet in-play will know she is yet to break her slam duck.

Vera Zvonareva, Samantha Stosur and Jelena Jankovic have had longer routes to the top and time appears to be running out for them to deliver on their talent. The 21-year-old Victoria Azarenka has most of the attributes to become a constant challenger at the big events, although her temperament and lack of subtlety, weaknesses that affect much of the new wave, might hold her back.

Further down the rankings there is potential in the form of young Americans Christina McHale and Melanie Oudin and Czech twin sisters Kristyna and Karolina Pliskova, the latter pair being winners of junior slam titles. Whether they have the dedication and special edge to go all the way to the top remains to be seen, but the opportunity to do so is there.

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