Power Ranking the Top 20 Women's Players After the 2014 French Open

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 Women's Players After the 2014 French Open

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    Maria Sharapova's win at the 2014 French Open was expected, especially after Serena Williams lost in the second round. However, the many upsets and upstarts were anything but predictable.

    This year's roller-coaster ride at Roland Garros sent rumbles through the WTA Tour. Sharapova's gritty fight to victory, the emerging young stars and resurgent veterans set the tone for an exciting grass-court season to come. 

    Results from Roland Garros are just one factor impacting these latest power rankings. A player's grass-court prowess, French Open showing, WTA ranking and year-to-date record all determine where they fall in the power rankings. 

    Kristina Mladenovic served up the first major upset when she knocked off No. 2 Li Na. Mladenovic followed the upset with a win over Alison Riske and a gusty three-set performance against Andrea Petkovic.

    Mladenovic showed plenty of promise. However, she is ranked outside of the WTA's Top 100. Nothing short of winning the French Open could catapult her into Bleacher Report's top 20. 

    Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki, who entered the tournament No. 16, fails to register even as an honorable mention. She was bounced from the first round. She has been outperformed by far too many players on their way up. She is also ranked outside the Top 20 on the "Road to Singapore," which tracks points earned this season. 

    With Wimbledon mere weeks away, the following are the power rankings for the top women in tennis.

Honorable Mention: Sabine Lisicki

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    WTA Ranking: 18

    Power Ranking Reason: Sabine Lisicki lost in the second round at the French Open. She hasn't lived up to her amazing run to the Wimbledon final last year. Luckily for her, Wimbledon is right around the corner. That's where she shines. A finalist last year, Lisicki reached the semifinals in 2011 and quarterfinals in 2012 and 2009.

Honorable Mention: Sloane Stephens

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    WTA Ranking: 19

    Power Ranking Reason: Sloane Stephens was the last American standing at this year's French Open. She made it to the fourth round for the second straight year. However, she just seems stuck in neutral, while other young guns, such as Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard, have accelerated past her.

20. Flavia Pennetta

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    WTA Ranking: 11

    Power Ranking Reason: Flavia Pennetta's surprising win at Indian Wells made her the comeback, feel-good story of the year. Yet, she's struggled since then. She lost in the second round of the French Open to Johanna Larsson, a player barely ranked inside the Top 100.

19. Samantha Stosur

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    WTA Ranking: 17

    Power Ranking Reason: Samantha Stosur has had the bad luck of running into top players at the wrong time. She lost to Sharapova in the fourth round of the French Open. She also lost to Sharapova in the round of 16 at the Madrid Open. She lost to No. 2 Li Na in the round of 16 in Rome.

    That's the problem with falling from the Top 10. The tough matches come sooner than later. Stosur, despite playing well recently, appears to be running in place in her quest to move back into the Top 10.

18. Svetlana Kuznetsova

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    WTA Ranking: 29

    Power Ranking Reason: Svetlana Kuznetsova's performance at this year's French Open reminded us how she won two Grand Slams. Kuznetsova reached the quarterfinals before falling to Halep. She left the court injured. That's a recurring theme in the Kuznetsova story. It's unfortunate because she has one of the best all-court games on tour.

17. Garbine Muguruza

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    WTA Ranking: 27

    Power Ranking Reason: Garbine Muguruza will be much higher than 35 when the new rankings are released Monday. Anyone watching her dispatch Serena Williams in straight sets could tell Muguruza was top-20 talent. More impressive than her win over a clearly subpar Williams, was the nearly defeating Sharapova. Muguruza's bold brand of tennis was one of many refreshing developments at Roland Garros.

16. Lucie Safarova

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    WTA Ranking: 21

    Power Ranking Reason: Lucie Safarova defeated Ana Ivanovic in the third round. It was one of the biggest wins of her career. It was certainly the biggest win for her this year. Although she lost to Kuznetsova in the fourth round, Safarova showed signs that she might be another late bloomer. The 27-year-old has always been a dangerous player, but she has often struggled to close matches out.

15. Ana Ivanovic

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    WTA Ranking: 13

    Power Ranking Reason: Leading up to the French Open, Ana Ivanovic showed signs that she was ready to rejoin the WTA's upper echelon. She defeated Sharapova in Rome and battled Serena Williams. She upset Williams in the Australian Open. But her upset loss to Safarova was a setback. The former No. 1 still has work to do to regain elite status.

14. Angelique Kerber

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    WTA Ranking: 9

    Power Ranking Reason: Angelique Kerber lost to Bouchard, the player many see as the future of women's tennis. There's no shame in that. However, Kerber, ranked No. 11 in the Road to Singapore, has been outplayed by other up-and-comers this year.

    She lost to Caroline Garcia in the opening round in Madrid. Despite being seeded No. 1, Kerber lost to Karolina Pliskova in Nuremberg, in front of the home crowd. Bouchard went on to win that tournament. If Kerber continuously gets beaten by up-and-comers, she could become a has-been.

13. Victoria Azarenka

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    WTA Ranking: 8

    Power Ranking Reason: With the bad luck Victoria Azarenka has had with a foot injury this season, it's only fitting that she land at 13. Azarenka hasn't played in a tournament since March, when she loss in her opening match at Indian Wells. When healthy, Azarenka is among the best. But when will she be healthy enough to play? When she announced her withdrawal from the French Open, she gave no indication.

12. Carla Suarez Navarro

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    WTA Ranking: 15

    Power Ranking Reason: Carla Suarez Navarro is another version of Sara Erranismall package with a big punch. Her heartbreaking loss to Bouchard may be tough to get over.

    At age 25, Suarez Navarro is young enough to keep improving. But she's also beyond seeking consolation in moral victories. She was overwhelmed at last year's U.S. Open in the semifinals, going down to Williams, 6-0, 6-0, in less than an hour. But now she expects to win big matches.

11. Sara Errani

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    WTA Ranking:14

    Power Ranking Reason: Sara Errani had another solid run at Roland Garros. Her upset over Jelena Jankovic was one of the more thrilling matches of the tournament. She also reached the final in Rome. But clay-court season is over. The clay courts are where Errani likes to make her run. However, with the tour moving to faster surfaces, Errani's chances of getting back to the Top Five are next to nil.

10. Dominika Cibulkova

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    WTA Ranking: 10

    Power Ranking Reason: Dominika Cibulkova got off to a great start this year. Her appearance in the Australian Open final moved her into the Top 10 in the Road to Singapore rankings. With mixed results at the French Open, Cibulkova moves to grass where her aggressive style will be rewarded.

9. Jelena Jankovic

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    WTA Ranking: 7

    Power Ranking Reason: When Serena Williams and Li Na went down, Jankovic's name came up as a possible contender to win the French Open. But instead she was upset herself, by Errani. Jankovic is playing solid tennis. However, against Errani, she seemed far less than 100 percent. She received medical visits during changeovers and appeared to be in pain. When healthy, Jankovic can never be counted out.

8. Petra Kvitova

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    WTA Ranking: 6

    Power Ranking Reason: Petra Kvitova is headed to Wimbledon, the site of her only Grand Slam. Of course plenty of players would love to have just one Slam. But when Kvitova won the 2011 Wimbledon title, against Sharapova, many assumed there would be more to come—not even a whiff.

7. Andrea Petkovic

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    WTA Ranking: 20

    Power Ranking Reason: Andrea Petkovic is one of the biggest movers in the power rankings. She will also leap several spots in the WTA rankings. Although she struggled early in her semifinals match against Halep, Petkovic enjoyed a dream French Open. She's battled back from injuries and appears healthy and ready to regain her place in the Top 10.

6. Eugenie Bouchard

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    WTA Ranking: 12

    Power Ranking Reason: A win over Sharapova in the semis would have put Bouchard in the Top 10. The talented Canadian won her first tournament a few weeks ago, in Nuremberg. She followed that up with a memorable showdown against Sharapova in the semifinals. Bouchard showed signs of nerves but also tremendous fight.

5. Agnieszka Radwanska

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    WTA Ranking: 4

    Power Ranking Reason: Agnieszka Radwanska has become the new Caroline Wozniackiconsistent but Slam-less. She will fall behind Halep when new rankings are released Monday. Once a win away from being the first Polish woman ranked No. 1, Radwanska now finds herself fighting to stay in the Top 10.

4. Li Na

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    WTA Ranking: 2

    Power Ranking Reason: Earlier this year, Li Na established the No. 1 ranking as a goal. But with Serena Williams ahead by more than 4,000 points, it seemed laughable. But there was one opening. Williams had massive amounts of points to defend during the clay-court season.

    If Williams faltered and Li took advantage, she could make up considerable ground. Well, Williams did falter. Her second-round loss will cost her nearly 2,000 points. But Li went out in the first round. At Wimbledon, Li has more points to defend than Williams.

3. Simona Halep

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    WTA Ranking: 3

    Power Ranking Reason: Halep gained fans and respect during her first appearance in a Grand Slam final. No longer a small circuit queen, she is the real deal. What's most exciting about Halep's play is that it's a return to fundamentals. From top spin to precise placement, she has a complete game. She still has to work on those nerves. But the more big moments she survives, the steadier she will be.

2. Maria Sharapova

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    WTA Ranking: 5

    Power Ranking Reason: With the win at Roland Garros, Sharapova leaps to No. 1 in the Road to Singapore rankings. She is having the best season of anyone on tour. The only reason she's not No. 1 in the power rankings is, well, her record against Serena Williams.

    Five Grand Slam titles, two French Opens in three years and the best clay-court record this season makes for a top-notch resume. But it's not enough to move Sharapova ahead of the No. 1 player, who also has a 14-match, decade-long winning streak against her.

1. Serena Williams

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    WTA Ranking: 1

    Power Ranking Reason: As horrible as her second-round loss looked, Williams remains No. 1 in the power rankings if for no other reason than her dominance over the No. 2 player.

    However, there are plenty of other reasons. She's simply the best player on tour. She'll be rested for a Wimbledon run. Grass has always suited her game. And the last time she suffered an early exit at Roland Garros, she set a record for most aces (102) en route to her fifth Wimbledon title.