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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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Triple Trophies in New York: Kim Clijsters Tops Tennis Power Rankings 2

Posted on September 22, 2010 by JA Allen

Clijsters wins her second consecutive trophy at the U.S. Open.

It seems that after the last slam of the year in New York City, the tennis world slows down a bit for the top ranked women.

There are a few International Tournaments going on now but most of the top 20 players will not pick up a racket in competition until Tokyo, the China Open in Beijing or later at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Serena Williams is still the No. 1 ranked player in the world, although she was in slight danger of losing that spot if Caroline Wozniacki had won the U.S. Open.

Kim Clijsters, however, repeated her championship run in Flushing Meadows, adding a third U.S. Open Trophy to her mantle. Clijsters has now won the U.S. Open back to back in 2009 and 2010––looking to expand her major trophy count in 2011.

The power rankings reflect the most recent results on the women’s tour with most of the emphasis centered on U.S. Open results.

The women’s tour will shut down at the end of October with the WTA Tour Championships which are held annually in Doha.

Last year’s winner was Serena Williams who is expected to be on hand to defend her championship.

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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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Meltdowns! WTA Young Stars Against Belgium’s Best 1

Posted on March 30, 2010 by Jo Shum
Sony Ericsson Open - Day 7

Victoria Azarenka

What an eventful day in Miami.  Not that I was there to watch the game in person, I did catch the two matches featured Victoria Azarenka vs. Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva vs. Justine Henin on streaming.  What strikes me most was the resemblance of the (almost) complete collapse of both young stars, I have to say more so to Azarenka as she didn’t or possibly couldn’t get her mind to settle to even put up a fight in the second set.  It’s close to a complete handover or you can say, worse than actually retiring from the match.

After since Azarenka lost the lead in the middle of the first set, she got wrecked up, cursing, shouting, swinging racket to the ground, spitting foul language (and received a warning).  All drama.  And still no result.  She was not playing bad in my eyes, she just needed to play more rallies as Kim kept returning the balls.  Read the rest of this entry →

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