Women's Power Rankings Jul. 20: Serena Has the Titles, Not the Ranking

Rob YorkSenior Writer IJuly 20, 2009

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04:  Serena Williams of USA attends a press conference on Day Twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 4, 2009 in London, England.  Serena Williams defeated sister Venus Williams 7-6, 6-2 to win the women's singles title.  (Photo by Neil Tingle - AELTC/Pool/Getty Images)

The Top 10

1. Dinara Safina–WTA Ranking: One

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Semifinalist] 900 pts, S-Hertogenbosch [Semifinalist] 130 points, Roland Garros [Finalist] 1,400 points, and Madrid [Winner] 1000 pts.

Total points 3,430.

If you’re a follower of the power rankings or even the actual WTA rankings, you know how long Safina has been No. 1.

You also know how meaningless the ranking feels when she has not one major to her credit.

Don’t see any need for us to repeat ourselves.

2. Serena Williams–WTA Ranking: Two

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Winner] 2,000 points, Roland Garros [Quarterfinalist] 500 points, Madrid [R64] five pts, and Rome [R32] one pt.

Total pts. 2,506

Want to know how Serena can be ranked No. 2 on the WTA rankings despite holding three of the last four majors?

The power rankings offer a clue: Only the younger Williams seems able to get away with playing a schedule this bare and with results this inconsistent, and yet bringing her best game to the majors.

Perhaps the WTA Tour needs to give even more weight to the majors so that their rankings accurately reflect her stature.

As long as she has her majors, though, Williams has made it clear she won’t spare a thought for the number beside her name.

3. Svetlana Kuznetsova–WTA Ranking: Five

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [R32] 160 pts, Eastbourne [R32] one pt, Roland Garros [Winner] 2,000 pts, and Madrid [R32] five pts.

Total pts. 2,166.

The Russian erased a big question mark by winning her second major in Paris. Now she faces the question of whether she can be a consistent top-five player.

Her lackluster grass results did little to answer those doubts, but the hard courts may be more favorable.

4. Venus Williams–WTA Ranking: Three

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Finalist] 1,400 pts, Roland Garros [Third Round] 160 pts, Madrid [Third Round] five pts, and Rome [Semifinalist] 350 pts.

Total pts 1,915.

As has been her custom since 2005, the elder Williams was a player reborn on the lawns of Wimbledon, leaving her clay court shortcomings far behind.

Unfortunately for her, her not-so-little sister got an even bigger burst of inspiration.

Will her finals loss motivate her to greater results on the hard courts, particularly at the U.S. Open?

It’s hard to say, but tennis would be a richer game for having her in the latter rounds.

5. Victoria Azarenka–WTA Ranking: Eight

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist] 500 pts, Roland Garros [Quarterfinalist] 500 pts, Madrid [R16] 140 pts, and Rome [Semifinalist] 350 pts.

Total pts 1,490.

An admittedly vengeful Serena Williams drubbed Azarenka at Wimbledon, but the Belarusian continues to put up reliable results.

If she can post mirror-image results on the clay and grass majors, perhaps the asphalt will be even more rewarding.

6. Elena Dementieva–WTA Ranking: Four

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Semifinalist] 900 pts, Eastbourne [R16] 60 pts, Roland Garros [R32] 160 pts, and Madrid [R16] 140 pts.

Total pts 1,260.

Two weeks after Wimbledon, one can only wonder if her disappointment has worn off yet. On the bright side, despite having been written off many times before, Dementieva came closer than anyone to knocking Serena Williams out of Wimbledon.

On the somewhat darker side, she played as well as she could have and still lost.

As the footing gets firmer, the competition gets tougher, and toughness was the only on-court virtue Dementieva was lacking on the grass.

7. Dominika Cibulkova–WTA Ranking: 12

Last Four Tournaments Played: Bastad [Quarterfinalist] 70 pts, Wimbledon [R32 Round] 160 pts, S-Hertogenbosch [R32] one pt, and Roland Garros [Semifinalist] 900 pts.

Total pts 1,131.

A few weeks ago, we asked whether this undersized Slovakian could build on her surprising Roland Garros run.

Sad to say, but the answer so far has been: “Not yet.”

8. Caroline Wozniacki–WTA Ranking: Nine

Last Four Tournaments Played: Bastad [Finalist] 200 pts, Wimbledon [R16] 280 pts, Eastbourne [Winner]470 pts, and Roland Garros [R32] 160 pts.

Total pts. 1,110.

After a disappointing Wimbledon result ending in her second defeat to Sabine Lisicki, all credit to Wozniacki for getting back on the horse and reaching the finals in Bastad.

Along with Azarenka, the Dane has put up as solid a year as any newcomer and is just as deserving of a breakthrough.

9. Agnieska Radwanska–WTA Ranking: 14

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist] 500 pts, Eastbourne [Quarterfinalist] 120 pts, Roland Garros [R16] 280 pts, and Madrid [R64] five pts.

Total pts 905.

This trailblazing Pole is the first female player from her country to win a tour title, reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and win $1 million in prize money.

Her ascent to the top 10 has been slightly delayed, but she’s been a consistent presence in the second week of majors this year.

10. Maria Sharapova–WTA Ranking 61

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [R64] 100 pts, Eastbourne [Semifinalist] 130 pts, Roland Garros [Quarterfinalist] 500 pts, and Warsaw [Quarterfinalist] 120 pts.

Total pts 850.

One can decry her grunting, her advertising deals, and her lack of variety, but one can never doubt her determination.

It was somewhat ironic that Wimbledon, the site of her first major victory, would be her most disappointing result.  But we look for her to keep climbing in the events to come.


Outside Looking In

1. Ana Ivanovic–WTA Ranking: 11

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [R16] 280 pts, Eastbourne [R32] one pt, Roland Garros [R16] 280 pts, and Rome [R16] 110 pts.

Total pts 671.

Last year, her countryman Novak Djokovic joked that the wave of success enjoyed by Serbian players was due to “radiation.”

How then would he explain the prolonged slump that he, Ivanovic, and Jelena Jankovic have been mired in during 2009?

Potassium iodide, perhaps?

2. Sabine Lisicki–WTA Ranking: 26

Last Four Tournaments Played: Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist] 500 pts, Eastbourne [R32] one pt, Roland Garros [R128] five  pts, and Estoril [Quarterfinalist] 70 pts.

Total pts 576.

She’s far from the most reliable performer on the WTA Tour, but watch out when this German gets some momentum behind her.

Just ask Wozniacki, whom Lisicki beat to win in Charleston and then again in the fourth round of Wimbledon.