The inevitable did happen. Serena Williams got her ranking, and Dinara Safina lost hers. It is a fair result, and would eventually bring the Russian more joy than disappointments in the long term. The top spot was becoming more of a burden than a dream for her.
Meanwhile, lots have happened in the tennis world in the indoor season and this week's Power Rankings highlights some of these events.
The Top 10
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova (1077 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [Winner], Tokyo [R32], U.S. Open [R16], New Haven [QF]
Tennis fans have short term memory, and hence, one cannot be blamed to forget that this Russian had won a Grand Slam title just four months back beating the world's top two women on the way.
After disappointing in the next two majors, she is back on track by winning a Premier Mandatory tournament. At only 24 years of age, she will be one of the ladies to look out for in 2010.
Current WTA Ranking: 4
2. Agnieszka Radwanska (905 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [Finalist], Tokyo [SF], U.S. Open [R64], New Haven [R16]
The Polish girl is trying to end a disappointing season—with first and second round exits in the year's first and last major—on a high note, with a semis and a finals appearance in her last two tournaments and also climbing her way back into the top 10.
Current WTA Ranking: 10
3. Maria Sharapova (651 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [R16], Tokyo [Winner], U.S. Open [R32], Toronto [Finalist]
Look who is back!
She may still be suspect about her shoulder, her new service action may still be responsible for her numerous double faults, and she may still be finding it difficult to close out an opponent in straight sets, but she is still fighting, and fighting hard.
Sharapova's return to the tour may not have been as spectacular as Clijsters', but it is steadily getting back to the level we have known. Now standing at No. 14, she is soon expected to get back into top 10.
Current WTA Ranking: 14
4. Marion Bartoli (580 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [SF], Tokyo [QF], U.S. Open [R64], New Haven [R16]
She is one of the most consistent performers in WTA tour, with her ranking always steady between 10 and 15. She would like to be in top 10 some day, but one can do only so much with a double handed forehand, flat footed movement, and a game that can be irritating to the opponent—at the most.
Current WTA Ranking: 12
5. Nadia Petrova (554 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [SF], Tokyo [R32], Quebec City [QF], U.S. Open [R16]
Petrova is yet another Russian girl possessing an explosive game, but with a largely unfulfilled career. Hopefully, one of these days they will learn to control their temper or frustration better and show the world what they are capable of.
Something drastic needs to happen for Petrova, though.
Current WTA Ranking: 17
6. Kim Clijsters (441 points)
Last four three tournaments: U.S. Open [Winner], Toronto [R16], Cincinnati [QF]
She may have returned back to professional tennis, but family remains at the helm of priorities for the Belgian Super Mom, as she is taking enough time to sink in her memorable victory at the Big Apple.
She will return to tennis next week and Luxembourg and one can be sure that all eyes will be on her.
Current WTA Ranking: 18
7. Li Na (422 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [R16], Tokyo [SF], U.S. Open [QF], Los Angeles [R16]
Li Na is enjoying her best year since 2007, by reaching a career high ranking of 16 at her home tournament in Beijing. Her woes with the top-10 players continues, though, as her last three defeats have come at the hands of Dementieva, Jankovic and Clijsters.
She may improve further is 2010, but balancing studies and tennis is a tough task.
Current WTA Ranking: 16
8. Elena Dementieva (385 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [QF], Tokyo [R32], U.S. Open [R64], Toronto [Winner]
Will she win a Grand Slam title? Or will she remain the best player not to win one?
This question continues to haunt us as Dementieva lets go of one opportunity after the other. An American teenage sensation and a partisan New York crowd got the better of her at U.S. Open while Serena Williams' determination gave her one of the most disappointing losses of her career.
The post U.S. Open season will not interest her much, and her results indicate the same.
Current WTA Ranking: 5
9. Serena Williams (384 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [R16], U.S. Open [SF], Toronto [SF], Cincinnati [R16]
For the younger Williams sister, it is always a matter of motivation. She won exactly the required number of matches to get that long eluded No. 1 ranking and promptly lost thereafter. This accomplishment, however, is overshadowed by other issues like her rage on the line umpire and a possible ban on the next year's major.
In the midst of all this, smaller titles continue to elude her, even though she now has the ranking.
Current WTA Ranking: 1
10. Caroline Wozniacki (364 points)
Last four tournaments: Beijing [R64], Tokyo [R32], U.S. Open [Finalist], New Haven [Winner]
The hangover of her U.S. Open success is still there as she is yet to win a match after losing to Clijsters in the Open final. Nobody can fault her as she had a grueling season, by compiling the maximum number of victories among the ladies, and achieving a phenomenal ranking of six.
She would do well do take a well deserved rest and come back fitter and stronger for the Tour finals and the 2010 season.
Current WTA Ranking: 6
Outside Looking In
1. Jelena Jankovic (329 points)
Time is running out for the Serbian. Her counter-punching style is being overpowered by the powerful girls, and tackled brilliantly by the emerging newer ones. Her fluid motion across the court, however, remains a delight to watch.
2. Vera Zvonareva (322 points)
Just when one thought that her mental demons could not get worse after her U.S. Open loss against Flavia Pennetta, she lost a match after 6-3 5-1 up—serving for the match—against Marion Bartoli. It is really disappointing—for a lack of a better word here.
Beijing joins the list of Barcelona and Queens by handing out humongous trophies to their champions. Poor Kuznetsova was having a hard time holding that large piece of silverware, let along kissing the thing for the photographers. They should realize that a small silver plate still remains the most coveted prize.
Oh, and Justine Henin has received a wild-card for next year's Australian Open as well. The next year sure sounds to be promising.