Power Ranking the Top 20 Women's Players After the 2014 Wimbledon

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 Women's Players After the 2014 Wimbledon

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    Petra Kvitova's complete dominance over Eugenie Bouchard in the 2014 Wimbledon final, provided answers to many questions surrounding the up-and-coming players on the WTA Tour.

    Bouchard's first Grand Slam final and Simona Halep's French Open final appearance signaled the future is now for the next generation of superstars. 

    However, Kvitova's hammering serve and powerful groundstrokes proved that the establishment—the power players—is still in charge. 

    The post-Wimbledon power rankings are based on WTA rankings, points won this year, Wimbledon performances and hard-court prowess. 

    Which players are in the best position going into the summer hard-court season? Players like Sloane Stephens and Maria Kirilenko, who last year were solidly in the top 20, have fallen far below the power-ranking radar. Others, such as Madison Keys, are making their way toward the top.

    As the generational shift takes form on the WTA Tour, the power rankings take shape.

Honorable Mention: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova

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    WTA Ranking: 30

    Power Ranking Reason: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova first made noise at Wimbledon when she upset No. 2 Li Na in the third round. She backed up that win with a fourth-round upset of Caroline Wozniacki. She was overwhelmed against Kvitova in the quarterfinals. But so was Bouchard.

    Zahlavova Strycova proved she's recovered from a devastating six-month suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. Her Wimbledon run might be an aberration. However, the confidence she gains from it can only help as she heads to the hard courts. 

Honorable Mention: Madison Keys

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    WTA Ranking: 27

    Power Ranking Reason: Madison Keys won her first title at Eastbourne, just prior to Wimbledon. Keys, not Serena Williams, was the last American woman alive at Wimbledon.

    She was in a tough third-round battle with Yaroslava Shvedova, before retiring with a leg injury. Keys, 19, had struggled to live up to the hype, but something seemed to click during the brief grass-court season.

    If her injury is not serious, Keys should enter the summer hard-court season brimming with confidence. 

20. Alize Cornet

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    WTA Ranking: 21

    Power Ranking Reason: Alize Cornet celebrated her win over Serena Williams as if she had won Wimbledon. In reality, it was only a third-round win. Reaching the fourth round was just one round farther than Cornet got last year.

    Cornet's two wins over Williams this year may give her confidence against the No. 1 player. However, it does nothing to shore up her weaknesses on the hard court. Cornet has never moved beyond the fourth round at a Grand Slam.

19. Caroline Wozniacki

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    WTA Ranking: 15

    Power Ranking Reason: Despite losing in the fourth round, Caroline Wozniacki played as well as she has since her well-publicized breakup with Rory McIlroy. She looked refreshed and refocused. She's still a long way from regaining the status of Grand Slam contender, but it was nice to see her performing well again.

18. Andrea Petkovic

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    WTA Ranking: 20

    Power Ranking Reason: Andrea Petkovic continues to make strides to return to the form that propelled her to No. 9 in 2011. She had a successful run at Wimbledon in singles and doubles. She reached the third round in singles and lost to Bouchard, while reaching the semifinals in doubles. Still making her way back after knee surgery, Petkovic is one to watch during the U.S. Open Series events. 

17. Sara Errani

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    WTA Ranking: 14

    Power Ranking Reason: Sara Errani has experienced a slow descent from the top five, her ranking peaking at No. 5 in May 2013. Errani continues to survive on points earned during the clay-court season, but with each year, the points become tougher to defend. Now headed for the quicker courts, Errani will probably continue to struggle. 


16. Carla Suarez Navarro

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    WTA Ranking: 16

    Power Ranking Reason: Carlos Suarez Navarro, another clay-court specialist, surprised many by making it to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open last year. But Serena Williams' 6-0, 6-0 trouncing of Suarez Navarro highlighted the potential dangers of a short player with a weak serve on hard courts.

15. Ekaterina Makarova

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    WTA Ranking: 19

    Power Ranking Reason: There was so much focus on Angelique Kerber's upset win over Maria Sharapova and Alize Cornet's defeat of Serena Williams. However, there was barely a whisper about Ekaterina Makarova defeating No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in less than an hour. Makarova has quietly put together a string of solid showings at Grand Slams

    She reached the third round at the French Open and the fourth round of the Australian Open. Makarova hardly has Grand Slam champion in her game, but she's asserted herself into the top 20.

14. Lucie Safarova

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    WTA Ranking: 17

    Power Ranking Reason: Lucie Safarova joined a handful of Czech ladies into the second week at Wimbledon. Three of the four players in the quarterfinals of the bottom half of the draw were from the Czech Republic.

    Although she was no match for Kvitova, Safarova's run showed why she's a dangerous player in any tournament. Her movement and superb return of serve keep her in matches against top players. 

13. Flavia Pennetta

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    WTA Ranking: 13

    Power Ranking Reason: Since winning at Indian Wells, Flavia Pennetta has been mediocre in tournaments. She enters the summer hard-court season with no momentum. However, last year, after relatively flat play most of the summer, Pennetta reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open.

12. Dominika Cibulkova

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    WTA Ranking: 12

    Power Ranking Reason: Still living off the points she generated by reaching the Australian Open final, Dominika Cibulkova has had far less success on clay and grass. Luckily for Cibulkova, she gets to go back to work on the surface she enjoys most. Her aggressive style and swift movement should help her return to the top 10.

11. Ana Ivanovic

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    WTA Ranking: 11

    Power Ranking Reason: Ana Ivanovic, 26, continues to struggle to get anywhere close to returning to the No. 1 ranking she once held. Perhaps the window of opportunity for Ivanovic has closed. Some of the up-and-comers like Halep and Bouchard are reaching finals now, and she still has to contend with veterans like the Williams sisters and Sharapova.

10. Victoria Azarenka

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    WTA Ranking: 10

    Power Ranking Reason: Before returning from her foot injury, it was unclear what Victoria Azarenka's game would look like. A rusty and weary Azarenka lost in the second round at Wimbledon, and her ranking took a hit. So you have to wonder, even though she returns to her beloved hard courts, can she get back to peak performance in time for the U.S. Open?

9. Jelena Jankovic

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    WTA Ranking: 9

    Power Ranking Reason: Jelena Jankovic was talking about a resurgence late in her career. But after her first-round crash at Wimbledon in doubles and singles, Jankovic has to regroup. She remains one of the best all-court players in the game. But as players, including Bouchard, usher in an even more aggressive style of play, Jankovic's counterpunching will take a beating.

8. Agnieszka Radwanska

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    WTA Ranking: 5

    Power Ranking Reason: Agnieszka Radwanska has looked frail in her losses in Grand Slams. She can no longer count on her speed and incredible defense to get her out of trouble against heavy hitters. She's in serious danger of skidding out of the top 10.

7. Li Na

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    WTA Ranking: 2

    Power Ranking Reason: When Li Na went out in the third round, it seemed like a monumental upset, as she was beaten by No. 43 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, an unseeded player. But Zahlavova Strycova would go on to upset Wozniacki and reach the quarterfinals.

    Still, Li also went out in the first round at the French Open. More alarming for Li is the news that she has split from coach Carlos Rodriguez. She enters the hard-court season with more questions than answers.

6. Angelique Kerber

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    WTA Ranking: 8

    Power Ranking Reason: Kerber's upset win over Sharapova in the fourth round sent shock waves through Wimbledon. Up until that point Sharapova was the favorite to win a Williams-less Wimbledon. Kerber, the strongest of the counterpunchers on tour, always has a puncher's chance of winning a title, but her soft second serve could keep her on the outside of winning a Grand Slam title.

5. Maria Sharapova

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    WTA Ranking: 6

    Power Ranking Reason: When Serena Williams lost in the third round, many thought it was Sharapova's tournament to lose. She did, lose that is, to Kerber in the fourth round. Still, Sharapova is sitting pretty going into the hard-court season. 

    Last year she played just one match after Wimbledon. That was in Cincinnati, where she lost to Sloane Stephens. She then fired Jimmy Connors, her coach at the time. She packed up her season and took the rest of it off to nurse a shoulder injury. With next to nothing to defend, every win for Sharapova is a points bonus.

4. Simona Halep

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    WTA Ranking: 3

    Power Ranking Reason: Halep came within a match of moving to No. 2 in the rankings. She has been consistent and proven she belongs in the top five, but emotional and mental hiccups, against Sharapova in the French Open final and against Bouchard in the Wimbledon semifinal, show that Halep still struggles with nerves. She also appears to be nursing a thigh injury.

3. Serena Williams

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    WTA Ranking: 1

    Power Ranking Reason: Besides the bizarre health scare Williams experienced during her second-round doubles match, she's just not having a solid season, although she remains No. 1. In the past, after an upset, it seemed Williams needed only to flip a switch to regain her championship form.

    But poor performances in back-to-back Slams have raised doubts about Williams. She has committed to playing in Sweden again, and last year that detour back to clay helped Williams turn her season around.

2. Eugenie Bouchard

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    WTA Ranking: 7

    Power Ranking Reason: Bouchard has had the most consistent Grand Slam run of any player on tour. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the French Open, and the final at Wimbledon. But Kvitova dismantled Bouchard and exposed flaws in the Canadian's game.

    Power gets to Bouchard. She'll have to solve that problem going into the hard-court season.

1. Petra Kvitova

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    WTA Ranking: 4

    Power Ranking Reason: The way Kvitova dominated Bouchard propels her to No. 1 in the power ranking. It was a Serena-esque beatdown of a player many pick as a future champion.

    Kvitova is far fitter than she's been in the past, and her killer serve and power can translate to the hard courts. More importantly, Kvitova is playing like a champion. Perhaps that test against Venus Williams woke Kvitova up. If she can carry that intensity and ball-striking ability with her into the U.S. Open series, she will be hard to beat.