The action is hot and heavy this week in Miami. It marks the end of the traditional hard court season in America before the world turns to clay in April.
The surprises on the women’s tour continue as Serbian Jelena Jankovic overcomes her slump to take the No. 1 spot in our Power Rankings this week after winning the tournament in Indian Wells.
You just have to wonder who will orchestrate the next big surprise as the women fight for position in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open.
The Top Ten
1. Jelena Jankovic (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 8)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [Winner], Monterrey [R32], Dubai [R16].
Power Ranking Points: 681
Just when everyone was erecting a tombstone to mark the passing of Jankovic’s career, the Serb came back and won it all at Indian Wells. Jankovic has also progressed into the fourth round in Miami, so things are definitely looking up for her. She seems to have recaptured her form and her energy level which had been missing in action for so long.
As the tour moves on to the clay, counterpuncher Jankovic hopes to climb back to the top of the WTA rankings. She has some truly tough matches upcoming in Miami this week that will demonstrate if Jankovic has the right stuff to continue her upward path.
2. Caroline Wozniacki (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 2)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [Finalist], Dubai [R16], Australian Open [R16].
Power Ranking Points: 542
Missing from the Power Rankings for the past few weeks, Wozniacki comes in at the No. 2 spot after her appearance in the finals at Indian Wells last week. The teenager has been working hard to add dimension to her solid counterpunching game. Her serve is becoming more of a weapon and Wozniacki is adding new-found power to her ground strokes.
The results seem to be paying off. She has fought her way into the fourth round and faces up-and-comer Russian Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the quarterfinal.
Currently ranked as world No. 2, Wozniacki is growing into her ranking. She will have to adjust quickly to the clay, fast approaching on the WTA calendar.
3. Agnieszka Radwanska (Last Power Ranking: 8; WTA Ranking: 9)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [Semifinals], Dubai [Semifinalist], Australian Open [R32].
Power Ranking Points: 449
Agnieszka Radwanska’s results so far in 2010 have been outstanding and have propelled her into the WTA top ten. She is still alive in Miami and has been playing solid tennis during the early hard court season. Radwanska dismissed veteran Justine Henin at Indian Wells as well as France's Marion Bartoli. The young Pole has solidified her ground strokes and her consistency as key ingredients in her success.
Radwanska is one of the new young women on the rise in the women’s game. As she gains experience and fine-tunes her serve, the Pole should become a steady top ten player.
4. Venus Williams (Last Power Ranking: 1; WTA Ranking: 5)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open [R16+], Acapulco [Winner], Dubai [Winner], Australian Open [Quarterfinalist].
Power Ranking Points: 402
Like her sister Serena, Venus Williams opted not to play at Indian Wells. But she is back in action on the courts at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami where she has advanced to the fourth round and will battle to make it into the quarterfinals.
Since the beginning of the year the elder Williams sister has been heating up the courts, making it to the quarterfinals at the 2010 Australian Open. From there she went on to take titles in both Dubai and in Acapulco. She definitely has her cap set to take the title in Miami as well.
5. Samantha Stosur (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 10)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson [R16+], Indian Wells [Semifinals], Dubai [R64], Australian Open [R16]
Power Ranking Points: 396
All at once the doubles specialist is lighting up the singles tour with astounding results. Stosur reached her career high singles ranking after making it to the semifinals at Indian Wells. She now sits at No. 10.
She remains alive in Miami in the round of 16 as she faces the Serb Jankovic for a place in the quarterfinals. Her prowess in doubles has aided her results in singles as her game and her mental strength matured.
6. Victoria Azarenka (Last Power Ranking: 3; WTA Ranking: 7)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open [R16+], Indian Wells [R32], Dubai [Finalist], Australian Open [Quarterfinalist].
Power Ranking Points: 339
Like many of the seeded players, Azarenka is still alive in the fourth round in Miami. Indian Wells, on the other hand, brought nothing but upsets for the top women seeds, including Azarenka.
The lady from Belarus is the defending champion in Miami, upsetting No. 1 seed Serena Williams here last year. As such, she has many points to defend.
Hopefully she will do just that this week. But she has her hands full with top-notch competition still awaiting her, especially next opponent Kim Clijsters.
7. Justine Henin (Last Power Ranking: 7; WTA Ranking: 33)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open [R16+], Indian Wells [R64], Australian Open [Finalist], Brisbane [Finalist]
Power Ranking Points: 337
After being dismissed unceremoniously at Indian Wells by Gisela Dulko, Justine Henin is fighting hard at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. The Belgian already took out the unlucky No. Five ranked Elena Dementieva and managed to work her way into the fourth round, awaiting her shot at a quarterfinal slot.
As the tour moves onto clay, Henin’s favorite surface, you have to like her chances at improving that No. 33 ranking and making her way back into the top 10. You especially have to like her chances to re-establish herself as the French Open champion.
8. Vera Zvonareva (Last Power Ranking: 9; WTA Ranking: 23)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [R16], Dubai [Quarterfinalist], Pattaya City [Winner].
Power Ranking Points: 288
With last year’s points falling off, Zvonareva is no longer ranked in the top 20, now sitting at No. 23. This is her lowest ranking since 2007.
Frequently injured this past year, the Russian is struggling to maintain her form on court. As the defending champion at Indian Wells, her early dismissal by Samantha Stosur was a huge disappointment.
But she remains alive in the 4th round in Miami, hoping for a spot into the quarterfinals. But in order to get there she must defeat Henin. It would be a huge victory for the Russian.
9. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Last Power Ranking: 5; WTA Ranking: 35)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Miami [R16+], Indian Wells [R32], Monterrey [Winner], Dubai [Quarterfinalist].
Power Ranking Points: 288
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova did not fare too well in the desert at Indian Wells but is confidently making her way through the draw in Miami. Another win will take her into the quarterfinals.
2010 looks like a break through year for the young Russian. The true test of her staying power will come as the ladies head to the European and American clay courts.
After stumbling at Indian Wells, Pavlyuchenkova hopes to redeem herself in Miami this week. Soon all of the commentators will be forced to learn how to pronounce her name!
10. Marion Bartoli (Last Power Ranking: OLI; WTA Ranking: 15)
Last Four Tournaments: Sony Ericsson Open [R16+], Indian Wells [R16], Dubai [R16], Australian Open [R32]
Power Ranking Points: 249
Marion Bartoli has been injured much of 2010 and has been fighting her way back to match strength. She lost at Indian Wells to an inspired Radwanska in the fourth round. He next opponent in Miami is the No. 1 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. A win would take Bartoli into the quarterfinals.
The unorthodox Frenchwoman who plays all her ground strokes two-handed has only reached the top ten once back in 2007.
Her ambitions would take her to the top ten again, but time will tell if she has it in her to get back to those upper levels.
Outside Looking In
Shahar Peer (Last Power Ranking: 7; WTA Ranking: 20)
Power Ranking Points: 233
Shahar Pe’er has been playing terrific tennis of late even though she was thoroughly dismissed in Miami by Kim Clijsters. She is just outside our top 10 in the Power Rankings this week.
Kim Clijsters (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 16)
Power Ranking Points: 221
After being prematurely dismissed by Russian Alisa Kleybanova at Indian Wells, Clijsters has revved up her game for Miami, hoping to win another championship. She must, however, get by a determined Victoria Azarenka in order to advance.
Nadia Petrova (Last Power Ranking: OLI; WTA Ranking: 18)
Power Ranking Points: 206
After losing to Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round at Indian Wells, Petrova is back to the round of 16 in Miami, hoping to advance to the quarterfinals.
The question for Petrova never involves her skill but always depends on her mental strength during any match. She needs another win or two to advance her confidence and her early season ranking.