Women's Tennis Power Rankings: Kim Clijsters Catapults to the Top

JA AllenSenior Writer ISeptember 14, 2009

The U.S. Open is over and the new women’s power rankings reflect the impact of that tournament, as some players are eliminated from the power rankings and others emerge...

1. Kim Clijsters

US Open [Winner] Toronto [R3], Cincinnati [Quarterfinals]. Total Points: 2087

Kim Clijsters made her way back to the top of the women’s game by capitalizing on her natural strengths and enhancing them with hard work and dedication.  Her years on tour have already given her steely resolve.  She knows exactly what she wants out of tennis and she is determined to make the most of the time she has left to play the game. 

What made her great initially will keep her great today.  We suspect Clijsters will become a fixture at the top of the women’s game. 

The unfortunate ending to her semifinal contest with Serena Williams did nothing to lessen her victory over teenager Caroline Wozniacki during the U.S. Open Final in 2009. 

Last Power Ranking: Not Ranked.  WTA Ranking: 19

2. Caroline Wozniacki

U.S. Open [finalist], New Haven [Winner], Toronto, [R32], Cincinnati [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points: 1705

Caroline Wozniacki played consistent and smart tennis all the way to the women’s finals.  Perhaps her toughest test was ending Melanie Oudin’s Cinderella run through the top seeds of the Open. 

After slowly improving her game over the past year, Wozniacki became a hot commodity on tour.  She was not, however, making any inroads into the majors until this summer in New York when she found that missing ingredient that brought her such enviable results.  We expect that success to continue as the teenager matures. 

Last Power Ranking: 2. WTA Ranking: 6.

3. Serena Williams

US Open [Semifinalist] Toronto [Semifinalist], Cincinnati [R16], Stanford [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points: 1,064.

What a horrendous ending to a superlative match.  It was competitive and high-quality tennis until the last moment.  To have Serena defaulted out of her semifinal contest was disgraceful.  Calling that minuscule foot fault on such an critical point was an abomination.  For Serena to lose her composure in such a fashion was also a huge debacle. 

No winners in this dispute for the WTA or Serena.  The only winner in the end was Kim Clijsters.  She may not feel good about winning in such fashion, but she deserved the win.  

Last Power Ranking: 4.  WTA Ranking: 2.

4. Yanina Wickmayer

U.S. Open [Semifinalist], New Haven, [R2], Toronto [R1], Cincinnati [R2]. Total Points: 973

Yanina Wickmayer benefited from the elimination of all the top seeds from the top of the draw.  She made her way through to the semifinals where she met and was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki.  The 19-year-old Belgian’s arrival at the semis was one of the many surprises in this tournament. 

Whether she has the game to stay at the top remains to be seen. But without a doubt, one of these teenage sensations will have an impact in the coming year.  We just need to wait and see which one. 

Last Power Ranking: Not ranked.  WTA Ranking: 22

5. Flavia Pennetta

U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], New Haven [Semifinalist], Toronto [R32], Cincinnati [Semifinalist]. Total Points: 708

What a summer for the plucky 27-year-old Italian Pennetta.  She fought back from the brink of defeat to Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.  She took that match in three sets after the Russian fell apart at the end of the second set. 

Pennetta faced Serena Williams in the quarterfinals and lost, 6-4, 6-3.  She has done well on the U.S. hardcourts and now moves on to the indoor season in Europe.  Will the Italians continue to have a significant impact?  They certainly did this summer.

Last Power Ranking: No. 3.  WTA Ranking: 10.

6. Kateryna Bondarenko

U.S. Open [Quarterfinals], Toronto [R3], Cincinnati [R2], Prague [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points: 578.

The Ukraine native enjoyed a spectacular U.S. Open, making it to the quarterfinals where she lost to Belgian teenager Yanina Wickmayer.  Her results show great promise for Bondarenko who will find her ATP ranking moving her into the top 30.  The view from here looks good as her tennis fortunes improve.  

Last Power Ranking: Not rated.  WTA Ranking: 34.

7. Li Na

U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], Los Angeles [R3], Stanford [R1], Wimbledon [R3].  Total Points:  528

After 10 years on tour, the Chinese player Li Na enjoyed a superlative run at the U.S. Open making it all the way to the quarterfinals where she lost to in straight sets to Kim Clijsters.  The hard courts give Li Na support for her quickness around the court and her ability move well.  She is a surprise entry into our power rankings.

Last Power Ranking: Not ranked. WTA Ranking: 18.

8. Melanie Oudin

U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [R1], Los Angeles [R1], Stanford [R2]. Total Points:  523

Oudin invigorated the U.S. Open this year.  She captured the heart and the imagination of U.S. fans and became the tournament sweetheart.  Her instantaneous fame sky-rocketed her into headlines around the world.  Another teenager eliminated her run in the quarterfinals, Caroline Wozniacki.  Rest assured, Oudin will be back to play again and steal hearts once more.  Cinderella knows how to make another run at the ball!

Last Power Ranking: Not ranked.  WTA Ranking: 44.

9. Elena Dementieva

U.S. Open [R2], Toronto [Winner], Cincinnati [Semifinalist], Stanford [Semifinalist]. Total Points: 488

The Russian was expected to be standing on Super Saturday in the women’s final.  Well, super Saturday never happened, and Dementieva was taken out in the second round by a red-hot Oudin, who went on to eliminate the Russian corps of seeded players on her way to the quarterfinals.  We expect that Dementieva will regroup and find a way to climb back to the top very soon. 

Last Power Ranking: 1.  WTA Ranking: 5.

10. Maria Sharapova

U. S. Open [R3], Toronto [Finalist], Los Angeles [Semifinalist], Stanford [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points: 403

Sharapova met the Russian annihilator Oudin in the third round, where she went down to defeat.  Although Sharapova has made great strides, her serve is still suspect with too many double faults on the day.  We expect that the Russian beauty will continue to improve her fortunes, readying herself for the indoor season and 2010. 

Last Power Ranking: 6.  WTA Ranking: 27.

Outside Looking In

Jelena Jankovic

U.S. Open [R2], Toronto [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [Winner], Stanford [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points:  387

Jankovic’s comeback into the upper tiers of the women’s game was interrupted at the U.S. Open as she was dismissed in the second round by Yaroslava Shvedova.  We have to wonder if the Serb can regroup and continue her winning ways after this upset.  We will see shortly as the tour moves indoor for the fall season.

Last Power Ranking: 5.  WTA Ranking: 8.

Vera Zvonareva

U.S. Open [R4], New Haven [R16], Toronto [R3] Cincinnati [R3], Los Angeles [Quarterfinalist]. Total Points: 368.

Being injured much of 2009 has not helped the disposition of the Russian as she fought her way back into the top 10.  Leading in her match with Italian Penneta and with match points on her racket, Zvonareva’s game collapsed.  She lost the match.  Hopefully, the Russian will recover and continue to improve. 

Last Power Ranking: Not ranked. WTA Ranking: 7.


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