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Maria Sharapova Leads the Field in the Women’s Tennis Power Rankings 11

Posted on May 18, 2011 by JA Allen

Russian Maria Sharapova

As the 2011 French Open gets underway next week, the women’s field remains wide open.  There is no clear cut favorite for the title.

In fact, there has never been a true favorite heading into Paris since Justine Henin announced her first retirement from tennis in 2008.

The champions crowned in Henin’s absence have been great surprises––like Ana Ivanovic in 2008, Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2009 and Francesca Schiavone in 2010.

The good news for tennis fans is that Kim Clijsters will be returning to action in Paris with her ankle severely taped.  The Belgian, however, will not have the needed warm-up time on the clay to give her adequate preparation for a win in Paris.

In addition to the top 10 women listed in our power ranking, there are other players who merit our attention as we get ready to crown another French Open champion in 2011.  These “also to be watched” players are as follows:

Kim Clijsters can never be discounted at any major tournament regardless of her physical injuries.  As the winner of the last two slams at the 2011 Australia Open and at the 2010 U.S. Open, Clijsters will be looking to win this French Open crown. This remains a title that has eluded her in the past.

Svetlana Kuznetsova won the French Open title in 2009 and has the game to win the title again.  After her campaign in Marbella where the Russian made the semifinals, Kuznetsova has not fared well on the clay.  She will definitely be looking to improve on the grounds at Stade Roland Garros.

Ana Ivanovic has done nothing to suggest that she can win the French Open title again. Still, as a former champion, she has to be considered as a dark horse coming in because she knows exactly what it takes to win it all on clay.  Everyone hopes to see the Serbian beauty win in Paris, but the odds are not in her favor this year.

Andrea Petkovic is another of the surging German women who has been making a name for herself on the World stage in tennis.  Although Petkovic has not done well on the clay, she is a dangerous player with the potential to do well on any surface.

Our top 10 rankings are based on the four most recent tournament results and the WTA ranking points awarded.  The points are aged with the most recent receiving the most points. Following are the top 10 women poised to win at Roland Garros starting Monday in Paris.

JA Allen, Marianne Bevis and Ronger Fengerer write the Power Ranking series.

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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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A Decade of Tennis Divas: The Last 10 Lady Champions at Indian Wells 14

Posted on March 05, 2011 by JA Allen

The tournament at Indian Wells gets underway on Monday March 7.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells gets underway starting March 7.

It is easy to see that the 36-year old tournament has grown into a major attraction for tennis fans in this country as the stands and grounds become packed with spectators each year when March rolls around.

Some tennis aficionados have grown so enamored with the annual event they now call it California’s version of a fifth major.

This year’s Masters Series 1000 Tournament, whose inaugural event took place in 1976, is now held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens after several location changes during its history.

It features both a men’s and a women’s draw with the top players attending, hoping to add this prestigious title to their respective resumes.

For the ladies field, the tournament gradually evolved into a top tier event. In the beginning it was non-sanctioned. It became, however, an official WTA Tour event in 1991.

Initially the women’s tournament preceded the men’s but in 1996 tournament sponsors along with the WTA and ATP decided to hold both competitions concurrently.

Unlike the men, the women have no player who has won this tournament three times.

In the women’s competition, however, seven players have won the tournament twice—Daniela Hantuchova 2002 and 2007, Kim Clijsters 2003 and 2005, Serena Williams 1999 and 2001, Lindsay Davenport 1997 and 2000, Steffi Graf 1994 and 1996, Mary Jo Fernandez 1993 and 1995 and Martina Navratilova 1990-1991.

Who will add to these totals in 2011?

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Women’s Tennis Power Rankings: Queen Serena Williams meets Queen Elizabeth 16

Posted on July 08, 2010 by JA Allen

The Queen of England visits Wimbledon and meets the Queen of the Court, Serena Williams.

Wimbledon is over––the year 2010 tucked away in the record books.  Centre Court now sports a roof and artificial lights, an abrupt departure from tradition in favor of increased revenue and pressure from major television outlets.

Most of the traditions, however, stay intact like bowing to the Queen, strawberries and cream and no tiebreak in the final set.

While the elongated fifth set has been an issue from time to time, in 2010 it became historically significant as Nicolas Mahut and John Isner battled over three days in their first round match which finally concluded after 11 hours of match play, 70-68 in the fifth set.

Neither player could play on after that match even though both tried, Mahut in doubles and Isner in singles.  For that reason alone, some sort of limit needs to be established.

Most of the talk was of the men.  Without a “suggestive” outfit from Venus, the women seemed invisible throughout the tournament.  U.S. coverage focused almost entirely on the Williams sisters––what there was of that.  As usual, the men stole the headlines and the regular television coverage.

So Serena’s amazing win, with her sizzling serve-breaking records, received less attention than usual as all the world continued the Rafa-Roger debate.  Too bad because the ladies put on quite a show!

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France’s Aravane Rezai Takes the Top Spot in Tennis Power Rankings 1

Posted on May 21, 2010 by JA Allen

France's Avarane Rezai defeats Venus Williams the final at Madrid.

The ladies prepare to do battle on the red clay of Stade Roland Garros as the 2010 French Open begins on Sunday. Questions abound concerning which players are fit to play––fully recovered from injuries mentally and physically.

Further which top players are peaking at just the right moment? Who will ride the wave and find herself standing on Court Philippe-Chatrier for the final match on June 5th.

The Power Rankings will give a clue as to which players are on top of their games at just the right time––to help us see who has the right stuff to make it through to the French Open finals.

The draw will be out soon––until then, here are the latest Power Rankings for the ladies.

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Jelena Jankovic Sits Atop Women’s Tennis Power Rankings 9

Posted on March 30, 2010 by JA Allen
Jelena Jankovic won the tournament in Indian Wells and tops the Power Rankings this week.

Jelena Jankovic won the tournament in Indian Wells and tops the Power Rankings this week.

The action is hot and heavy this week in Miami. It marks the end of the traditional hard court season in America before the world turns to clay in April.

The surprises on the women’s tour continue as Serbian Jelena Jankovic overcomes her slump to take the No. 1 spot in our Power Rankings this week after winning the tournament in Indian Wells.

You just have to wonder who will orchestrate the next big surprise as the women fight for positions in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open.

The Top Ten

1. Jelena Jankovic (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 8 )

Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [Winner], Monterrey [R32], Dubai [R16].

Power Ranking Points: 681

Just when everyone was erecting a tombstone to mark the passing of Jankovic’s career, the Serb came back and won it all at Indian Wells. Jankovic progressed into the fourth round in Miami, so things were definitely looking up for her. The question remained––had she found her form and her energy level which had been missing in action for so long?

She had some tough matches awaiting her in Miami that would demonstrate if the Serb had the right stuff to continue her upward path. Unfortunately for Jankovic, she lost her fourth round match to Australia’s Samantha Stosur 6-1, 7-6.

As the tour moves on to the clay courts, counterpuncher Jankovic still hopes to climb back to the top of the WTA rankings.

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