Australian Open 2012: Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and Ranking Scenarios

Shane LambertAnalyst IIJanuary 26, 2012

Maria Sharapova
Maria SharapovaMark Kolbe/Getty Images

The 2012 Australian Open women's singles final will take place on Saturday at Melbourne Park.

It will feature first-time Grand Slam finalist Victoria Azarenka against three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

Not only will the outcome of the match determine the champion at the Australian Open, it will also change the complexion of the women's rankings—with the top spot on tour directly at stake.

Here's what the current rankings look like for the top four players on the WTA Tour (the number in parenthesis is the player's ranking points entering the Aussie):

  1. Caroline Wozniacki (7,485)
  2. Petra Kvitova (7,290)
  3. Victoria Azarenka, (6,865)
  4. Maria Sharapova (6,440)


Scenario 1—What the rankings will look like if Sharapova wins the 2012 Australian Open:

  1. Maria Sharapova (8,160)
  2. Victoria Azarenka (7,985)
  3. Petra Kvitova (7,690)
  4. Caroline Wozniacki (7,085)


Scenario 2—What the rankings will look like if Azarenka wins the 2012 Australian Open:

  1. Victoria Azarenka (8,585)
  2. Petra Kvitova (7,690)
  3. Maria Sharapova (7,560)
  4. Caroline Wozniacki (7,085)

Wozniacki made the semifinals last season but fell in the quarters this season. As a result, she stands to lose 400 ranking points when the post-Australian Open rankings update.

Kvitova, conversely, made the quarters last season and fell in the semifinals this season. Due to that, she stands to gain 400 ranking points following the conclusion of the Australian Open. However the Czech star can still drop in the rankings depending on which way the final goes.

Sharapova and Azarenka both had a lot to gain at the 2012 Australian Open and they have both cashed in. Each player fell in the fourth round last year and due to that, they each only had to defend 280 ranking points this season.

The winner of the women's final will turn a net gain of 1,720 while the loser will turn a net gain of 1,120.

If Sharapova wins she will regain the top ranking, a position that she has not held since June of 2008. If Azarenka wins, she will be the top-ranked player for the first time in her career.