WTA Top Ten bottoms out – The Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail UpdatePublished on Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2010 11:33PM EDT
The latest weekly (July 12) release of the WTA Tour rankings doesn’t provide a very pretty picture of women’s tennis. Aside from no. 1 Serena Williams, it is hard to be inspired by the recent performances of most of the players ranked in the top 10.
Here is a look at them, and two others:
1. Serena Williams: the clutch player of women’s tennis, she has 6,900 of her 8,475 total ranking points from the four Grand Slams (including titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon) and the 2009 year-end championships. her next scheduled event is at the lowly $220,000 (US) tournament in Istanbul in two weeks. how much appearance money does it take to get her to fly back across the ocean three weeks after winning Wimbledon? A lot.
2. Jelena Jankovic: the year-end no. 1 in 2008, Jankovic, 25, bears little resemblance to the fun-loving, acrobatic and gritty performer she was during her rise. A stunning 6-1, 6-2 loss to Samantha Stosur in the French Open semi-finals, when the opening was there for her first Grand Slam title, and a 6-1, 3-0 retired (back) defeat against Vera Zvonareva at Wimbledon, are not good omens for the once carefree Serb.
3. Venus Williams: For the second year in a row, Williams wins in back-to-back weeks in Dubai (hard) and Acapulco (clay) in February. but losses – 6-2, 6-1 to Kim Clijsters in the Miami final, 6-4, 6-3 to Nadia Petrova at the French Open and, especially, 6-2, 6-3 to Tsevtana Pironkova at Wimbledon – are not positive signs for a newly-turned 30 year old.
4. Caroline Wozniacki: Bolstered by the points from reaching the 2009 US Open final, Wozniacki got to no. 2 in March. Over-playing on a nagging ankle injury dating back to April has made her vulnerable, as is indicated by a 6-2, 6-3 loss to eventual winner Francesca Schiavone at the French Open and a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing by powerful Czech Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon. she turned 20 last Sunday.
5. Samantha Stosur: the talented Australian has a lot of game, including a great serve and a take-charge forehand. but after beating Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic to reach the French Open final, she came up flat against Schiavone. More mature at 26, she seemed poised for a breakthrough but a 6-4, 6-4 first-round loss at Wimbledon to Kaia Kanepi again raises questions about her mental toughness and staying power.
6. Elena Dementieva: like Jankovic, she missed a golden opportunity for a maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open when she had to retire with an ankle injury after battling like a trooper. Out since the French Open semis on June 3, she is scheduled to play in two weeks in Stanford, Calif. now 28, many hope the classy Muscovite gets another shot at a big one.
7. Kim Clijsters: After her sensational comeback win at the 2009 US Open, Clijsters, 27, has experienced the disappointments of a shock 6-0, 6-1 loss to Nadia Petrova in Australia, an instep injury that kept her out of the French Open and a fade in her 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 exit to Vera Zvonareva at Wimbledon. Starting to ‘defend’ ranking points next month, the full reality of her return may start to hit home.
8. Francesca Schiavone: her storybook victory at the French Open is the unlikeliest result at a Grand Slam in the new millennium, including Clijsters at the 2009 US Open. now 30, the Italian is a fun player to watch but realistically someone, whose highest ranking had been no. 11 over a 12-year career, is not about to turn into a world-beater.
9. Vera Zvonareva: A player with more solid results than Schiavone, the former world no. 5 has demonstrated commendable resilience returning from ankle surgery last November. her runner-up finish at Wimbledon showed more maturity but, turning 26 in September, she still has a way to go to convince the sceptics.
10. Li Na: One of the best athletes on the tour, Li, 28, has played well in the big events in 2010 – losing to Serena Williams, 7-6(4), 7-6(1) in the Australian Open semi-finals and 7-5, 6-3 in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. the only Chinese to ever rank in the top 10, unfortunately she has a reputation for falling victim to nerves as the pressure mounts.
13: Justine Henin: A total bummer for the women’s tour, Henin injured an elbow ligament while losing to Clijsters at Wimbledon and is out until after the US Open.
15. Maria Sharapova: It’s been a tough road back from shoulder surgery in October, 2008, but her fine showing against Serena in a 7-6(9), 6-4 loss at Wimbledon, especially her serving, is one of the few positives for women’s tennis these days.
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