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Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Queen Victoria Azarkena Reigns after Miami 5

Posted on April 08, 2011 by Ronger Fengerer

Victoria Azarenka won the women's championship in Miami.

Since the conclusion of the first major of the year—the Australian Open—there has been 11 tournaments and ten winners on the WTA tour. The only double-titlist? Caroline Wozniacki, the current world No. 1.

These Power Rankings focus more on the recent tournaments, aiming to give a measure of form rather than overall ability. In the current case, results from the last two Premier Mandatory events at Miami and Indian Wells will largely decide the rankings.

However, that won’t do justice to many titlists who aren’t featured in the power rankings.

Here’s a quick list of honorable-mentions:

Petra Kvitova won her second title of the year at Paris, also triumphing at Brisbane at the begging of the season. She subsequently rose to a career-high ranking of No. 14. However, she was unable to keep her momentum going, winning only one out of her next five matches.

Daniela Hantuchova won the Pattaya City title without dropping a set. Before that, she had lost all four of her matches of the season, including a first-round exit at Melbourne. Since then she has suffered two more first-round defeats. The talented Slovakian is competing at the clay-court event at Charleston this week.

Magdalena Rybarikova, another Slovakian currently ranked No. 69 in the world, won the Memphis title back in February, only her second career-title. In her first tour-level match since then, she lost in the first-round at Charleston this week.

Lourdes Dominguez Lino is a 30-year-old veteran from Spain, currently ranked No. 46 in the world. She won the clay-court event at Bogota in February, also winning there in 2006. In fact, those are her only two career-titles. She lost in the second-round at Marbella this week.

Gisela Dulko won the clay-court event at Acapulco, her first singles title in three years, though she is the current No. 1 in doubles. She did not have much success on the hard-courts, suffering three first-round exits already. Maybe the clay season will do her some good.

Jelena Dokic was the surprise winner at Kuala Lumpur, beating Francesca Schiavone in the first-round. It was her first title since 2002. Unfortunately for the former world No. 4, she also lost in the first-round at Charleston this week.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova successfully defended her title at Monterey this year. She won her first career-title there last year. She reached her career-high ranking of No. 14 after a third-round effort at Melbourne. She is the youngest player in the top 50 and should have a very successful career.

Without further ado, here is this week’s top ten list.

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Tennis Power Rankings: Kim Clijsters Holds the Aussie Trophy and the Top Spot 3

Posted on February 01, 2011 by JA Allen

Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the 2011 Australian Open title defeating Ni La of China.The 2011 Australian Open’s evolving storyline for the ladies never ceased as one drama after another unfolded both on and off court.

First and foremost, Serena Williams, defending champion, still injured, decided to withdraw before the tournament Down Under got underway.

Sister Venus Williams hobbled briefly into Melbourne, eliminated when she could no longer move. At that point, the elder Williams retired in the third round against up-and-comer German Andrea Petkovic.

Svetlana Kuznetsova entertained all with the most thrilling matches of the tournament. The newly svelte Russian held on to defeat Justine Henin in the third round 6-4, 7-6.

Subsequently, Henin announced her second permanent retirement from professional tennis.

But the best match of the tournament followed in the fourth round as Kuznetsova met the feisty Italian Francesca Schiavone.  The two veterans battled for four hours and 44 minutes making it the longest women’s match ever.

It ended with Schiavone winning 6-4, 1-6, 16-14.

The Italian, however, had nothing left when she met the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.

The tournament ended with the crowning of Aussie Kim—her first championship in Melbourne.

The seasoned professionals, for the most part continued to give way to a new wave of hard-hitting ball-strikers working their way up the ranking.

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Australian Open 2011: Clijsters? Wozniacki? Who Will Win Down Under? 5

Posted on January 16, 2011 by JA Allen

Caroline Wozniacki is the new World No. 1 in womens tennis.

It is redundant to repeat that the women’s field in Melbourne is wide open.  This is because the 2010 defending Australian Open Champion Serena Williams is not competing,

The media has already taken a big bite out of the No. 1 seed, Caroline Wozniacki, finding her lacking in seasoning, flavor and a coup d’etat at any major.

Previously, the pundits did the same thing to Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina, hounding these ladies, driving them out of range of reaching that ranking again.

Wozniacki, however, is not quite as fragile or as susceptible to harsh, self-centered commentator remarks. Of course, the No. 1 seed wants to capture this title and will do everything in her power to win her first slam.

What everyone seems to overlook is that Wozniacki is 20 years old and her game is still evolving. Just as Nadal starting winning on one surface then improved his game to win on all surfaces over time––Wozniacki has not yet perfected her game.

The No. 1 seed is certainly not the favorite to win.  Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are.

Most feel Venus Williams has not played enough good tennis in preparation for the Australian Open to win. Maria Sharapova, they feel, is also not in top form and perhaps never will be again.

Many look at Samantha Stosur to break through at home and win her first major. That would, indeed, please the natives.

In order for Wozniacki to win, she would have to play perfect tennis for two weeks, serving well plus out-hustling any player standing across the net.  The question is––can Wozniacki do it?

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Ranking Tennis in 2010: The Top 10 Performances, Part 1 0

Posted on December 21, 2010 by JA Allen

Rafael Nadal's victory over Roger Federer in Madrid clinched his clay court supremacy in 2010.

2010 proved to be an exceptional year in tennis, as the No. 1 mantle changed owners in the men’s and the women’s game.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams who both entered 2010 ranked No. 1 dropped out of the top spot.

Roger will end the year with the No. 2 ATP ranking while Serena will end her year as No. 4 in the WTA.

But many significant performances––some for a match and some for a season––shaped a very controversial, entertaining year on the tennis courts of the world.

The ranking of these respective performances is subject to interpretation. Perhaps even attempting to put them in any particular order is a waste of time.

Regardless, all 10 are significant in assigning superlatives to the 2010 season.

Preamble: A Toast To the 2010 Tennis Match That Refused To Die

John Isner defeats Nicholas Mahut, first round, 2010 Wimbledon

2010 gave us the longest match in the history of the game of tennis.

Normally a first round match is nothing more than a formality for seeded players during a grand slam––but not always.

A case in point––American John Isner seeded No. 23 had little expectation concerning the full-scope of this match as he met his opponent Frenchman Nicholas Mahut on Court 18 to contest this opening round match.

The match, however, extended over three days lasting 11 hours, five minutes, and ended at 70-68 in the fifth and final set.

Wimbledon, you see, does not allow for a tiebreak to determine a winner if the match extends to five sets.

After this epic, there was a concern expressed regarding this tradition because these two players suffered physically for a long while after the match concluded.

The world became mesmerized by this drama unfolding daily on an obscure outside court at the All-England Club.

In fact, the match drew vast numbers to watch––people who otherwise would not have spent a moment of their busy lives watching tennis.

Therefore, the networks, and in this case ESPN, loved it.

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Caroline Wozniacki Tops the Year-End Power Rankings in Women’s Tennis 0

Posted on November 10, 2010 by Ronger Fengerer

Caroline Wozniacki ended the year ranked No. 1.

With the conclusion of the WTA Championships at Doha and the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions at Bali, 2010 women’s tennis season is officially over.

What a truly eventful season this has been! It began with Justine Henin coming back from her retirement and ended with Elena Dementieva calling it a career.

It saw the young Dane Caroline Wozniacki fulfilling her potential and ending the year as the top ranked player in the world.

It witnessed the magical run of Fancesca Schiavone at Roland Garros and becoming the first Italian Grand Slam winner in tennis history. And now the WTA tour even has a brand-new logo which was unveiled at the year-end championships at Doha.

Not surprisingly, all players from this week’s top-ten list either participated in Doha or Bali. For many, this has been a career-best season. It will be interesting to see whether they will be able to maintain their top form after a two-month lay-off. But before then, a vacation with loved ones is fully deserved.

The Top Ten

1. Caroline Wozniacki (Last Power Ranking: 1; Year-End WTA Ranking: 1)

Last Four Tournaments: YEC [Finalist], Beijing [Winner], Tokyo [Winner], US Open [Semifinalist]

Power Ranking Points: 1340

Wozniacki won the China Open helping her secure her top ranking.

Caroline Wozniacki entered the year-end championships at Doha as the hottest player on the tour, having won two Premier events at Beijing and Tokyo back-to-back.

She became the 20th player to ascend to No.1 on October 11 at Beijing.

But her loss to Kim Clijsters in the final at Doha proved that she still has more work to do before being considered the truly best player in the world.

Having won a tour-leading six titles and finishing the year as the top-ranked player, the 10th player in history to accomplish that, this has indeed been a career-best year for the young Dane.

The only disappointment is that she failed to win a Grand Slam, her best result being a semifinal finish at the US Open. She will for sure be eager to get rid of the title “no. 1 player without a Grand Slam title” in 2011, just ask Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina. With many claiming that she only achieved the no. 1 ranking due to the absence of Williams sisters and the Belgian duo, Wozniacki has a lot to prove next season.

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WTA Power Rankings: Great Dane Caroline Wozniacki Sweeps to No. 1 8

Posted on October 11, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

Caroline Wozniacki at the China Open, the new women's World No. 1.

While the cat’s away, the rest of the women’s tour will play. And the biggest reward has come to the beaming Caroline Wozniacki.

With 25 tournaments under her belt, six of them reaping titles, it was only a matter of time before she overtook Serena Williams to take the No 1 ranking and, in doing so, Wozniacki has become the first player from Denmark ever to hold the top ranking.

But what of the woman who seemed able dominate the tour with the minimum of effort, who played just six events this year, yet still managed to win two Grand Slam titles?

Serena has played no tennis since her Wimbledon triumph because of a cut foot, but she finally announced her return to the tour in Linz this week. Within days, however, she had withdrawn, citing a ‘physical problem.’

With so little preparation time before Doha in a fortnight’s time, her chances of defending the title she won there last year began to look increasingly slim. More, though, was to come.

On her website on Sunday, she announced that her foot was injured again, and that she would be unlikely to return to play this year.

Meanwhile, sister Venus, who played Serena in last year’s final, had already withdrawn for the rest of the season with a recurrent knee injury.

The Williams sisters are not the only mature players struggling with injury. Kim Clijsters was due to play in Beijing but a long-planned minor operation on her foot did not heal in time, and she withdrew.

She still plans to make the trip to Doha, but is far from a certainty. However fellow Belgian Justine Henin, has been unable to play since Wimbledon because of an elbow injury, and her website suggests she will not be going to Doha.

There are few, therefore, who seem able to keep pace with Wozniacki except perhaps the woman who has tracked her all year, Zvonareva.

The day after the Dane secured the No 1 ranking, the Russian ensured the No 3 position. They stand at three all in their head-to-head, and stand two apiece in meetings this year—two in semi-finals and two in finals.

It seems likely, therefore, that they will also contest the Tour Championships.

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