It seems that after the last slam of the year in New York City, the tennis world slows down a bit for the top-ranked women.
There are a few International Tournaments going on now but most of the top 20 players will not pick up a racket in competition until Tokyo, the China Open in Beijing, or later at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
Serena Williams is still the No. 1 ranked player in the world, although she was in slight danger of losing that spot if Caroline Wozniacki had won the U.S. Open.
Kim Clijsters, however, repeated her championship run in Flushing Meadows. Clijsters has now won the U.S. Open back-to-back, increasing her U.S. trophy count to three in total. She hopes to add more.
The power rankings reflect the most recent results on the women’s tour, with most of the emphasis centered on U.S. Open results.
The women’s tour will shut down at the end of October with the WTA Tour Championships, which are held annually in Doha.
Last year’s winner was Serena Williams, who is expected to be on hand to defend her championship.
The Top 10
1. Kim Clijsters (Last Power Ranking: 3; WTA Ranking: 5)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Winner], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [Winner], Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist].
Power Ranking Points: 2,282
With Serena Williams out of action during the 2010 U.S. Open, Clijsters became almost everybody’s favorite to repeat as champion.
The Belgian did it the hard way, however, by defeating Ana Ivanovic, Samantha Stosur, Venus Williams, and finally an overwhelmed Vera Zvonareva in the final.
Most felt that there would be a repeat of last year’s final with Clijsters meeting Caroline Wozniacki as she did in 2009, but Zvonareva dispatched Wozniacki in the semifinals.
With solid determination and the right game, Clijsters has fought her way back to the very summit of the women’s game, and is within a stone’s throw of taking over the No. 1 spot.
That probably will not happen because Clijsters wishes to maintain her full-time role as her daughter’s caregiver.
The Belgian’s concentration will be on winning majors, not on rankings. Clijsters figures the rankings will take care of themselves.
She is scheduled to appear next at the China Open in Beijing along with all the other top-ranked women. Clijsters should also appear at the year-end WTA Tour Championships in Doha in late October.
Then it will be onto to 2011 with another year of new majors to conquer.
The Top 10
2. Vera Zvonareva (Last Power Ranking: 2; WTA Ranking: 4)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Finalist], Montreal [Finalist], Cincinnati [R16], San Diego [R16].
Power Ranking Points: 1,590
Vera Zvonareva fought her way brilliantly into the championship match of the U.S. Open—just as she had battled her way into the Wimbledon Championship.
Her final in Flushing Meadows, however, was even less impressive than her final at the All-England Club against Serena Williams. Kim Clijsters defeated the Russian 6-1, 6-2 before anyone really settled into the match.
It had to be an embarrassment to the Russian who worked so hard to get there—to have nothing left to show in the final on the tennis world’s biggest stages. Hopefully, Zvonareva will find a way soon to play the same game in the final that she used to get there.
Her progress up to the respective finals has been a remarkable comeback for the 26-year-old as she prepares for the indoor season, prior to the season-ending tournament in Doha.
The Top 10
3. Caroline Wozniacki (Last Power Ranking: 1; WTA Ranking: 2)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Semifinalist], Montreal [Winner], Cincinnati [R16], Copenhagen [Winner].
Power Ranking Points: 1,307
After winning in Montreal, Wozniacki came into the U.S. Open as the No. 1 seed since Serena Williams, World No. 1, withdrew from the tournament after surgery on her foot.
Until the semifinals, Wozniacki played like the No. 1 seed, winning all her matches in straight sets.
But in her semifinal match with Vera Zvonareva, the Dane lost in straight sets, unable to dent the will and the serve of the Russian.
Ironically, Wozniacki had defeated Zvonareva in the finals at Montreal two weeks prior to the start of the U.S. Open.
Wozniacki, however, had played a lot of tennis coming into the final—the most of anyone on tour.
She is taking a bit of time off before finishing up the indoor season, and competing at the year-end tournament in Doha.
You have to suspect that Wozniacki will soon be holding that No. 1 mantle, especially if Serena Williams sets tennis aside much longer.
The Top 10
4. Venus Williams (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 3)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Semifinalist], Wimbledon [Quarterfinalist], French Open [R 16], Madrid [Finalist].
Power Ranking Points: 1,003
It did not seem possible after playing so little competitive tennis over the summer that Venus Williams would enjoy much success at the U.S. Open.
Earlier in 2010, Venus had done very well, winning Dubai and Acapulco and appearing in the finals of Miami and Madrid.
But Williams became injured and not able to play after 2010 Wimbledon. Nonetheless, Venus did exceptionally well, making her way through the draw to the semifinals where she gave Kim Clijsters all she could want and more.
Their semifinal contest was one of the best of the tournament, and give Clijsters the impetus to wipe the opposition's slate clean when Zvonareva showed up on the final Saturday.
Williams has once again qualified for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Doha, where she was runner-up to her sister Serena in 2009.
It will be interesting to see how the elder Williams approaches 2011 now that she has reached age 30.
The Top 10
5. Samantha Stosur (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 7)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], New Haven [Quarterfinalist], San Diego [Quarterfinalist], Stanford [Semifinalist].
Power Ranking Points: 589
Ever since Stosur made the finals of the French Open, she has struggled with injuries and disappointment, trying to get back to the level that took her to her first Major singles final.
Stosur played impeccable tennis up until the last match of the French Open, where she lost to Italian Francesca Schiavone.
Returning to form, Stosur played very well at the U.S. Open until she met eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals, taking the Belgian to three sets before capitulating in the final set.
A shoulder injury severely shortened the Aussie’s summer, and she had little time to prepare for the Open. Nonetheless, the Aussie played well even in defeat in the quarterfinals. She should qualify for the WTA Tour Championships in Doha in October.
Stosur will have to decide whether participating in doubles is helping aid her chances to succeed in singles.
The Aussie is a potential champion in both. But she may have to sacrifice one to succeed in the other, saving her body from additional wear and injury.
The Top 10
6. Kaia Kanepi (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 26)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], New Haven [R32], Montreal [R16], Palermo [Winner].
Power Ranking Points: 563
Kaia Kanepi was playing lights out tennis at the U.S. Open this year, until she ran into eventual finalist Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals. Kanepi took out the No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic in the third round.
The Estonian went through qualifying rounds to get into the French Open and Wimbledon.
At Wimbledon, Kanepi also advanced to the quarterfinals where she lost to Petra Kvitova in a thrilling three-set match.
With her strong serve and her powerful ground strokes, Kanepi has advanced her game and her ranking in 2010.
Just how far she can rise is yet to be seen. 2011 offers another year of strong possibilities.
The Top 10
7. Francesca Schiavone (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 8)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], New Haven [R32], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [R32].
Power Ranking Points: 557
Italian Francesca Schiavone won the tournament in Barcelona, and then took the tennis world by storm by winning the French Open Championship over her highly-favored opponent, Australian Samantha Stosur.
This moved Schiavone into the top ten for the first time in her career.
In winning the title, Schiavone became only the third Italian woman to win a major.
After winning the French, Schiavone fell in the first round at Eastbourne, and followed that up with another first round loss at Wimbledon.
At the U.S. Open the Italian was seeded No. 6, and lost in the quarterfinals to the No. 3 seed Venus Williams 7-6, 6-4.
The Italian looks ready to make another major run perhaps Down Under.
The Top 10
8. Dominika Cibulkova (Last Power Ranking: NR; WTA Ranking: 33)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [Quarterfinalist], New Haven [R16], Montreal [R64], Cincinnati [R64].
Power Ranking Points: 520
The 21-year-old Slovak advanced to her second-ever grand slam quarterfinal at the U.S. Open in 2010.
Her first was the French Open in 2009, where she actually made it all the way to the semifinals.
This year she met and was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals after upsetting Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova the No. 11 seed in the fourth round.
Cibulkova likes the hard courts and the clay, but so far her best results have been on the artificial hard courts.
She reached her highest ranking of No. 12 in 2009.
The Slovak is one of the youngsters working her way up the rankings ladder.
Cibulkova hopes that her turn to grab the brass tennis ring will happen sooner rather than later.
The Top 10
9. Maria Sharapova (Last Power Ranking: 6; WTA Ranking: 15)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [R16], Cincinnati [Finalist], Stanford [Finalist], Wimbledon [R16].
Power Ranking Points: 475
Maria Sharapova made it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open where she encountered the No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki.
The two battled valiantly but when the wind settled, Wozniacki had the better day and won the match. Earlier in August, Sharapova had to withdraw from Montreal because of an injury to her foot.
Luckily, the foot healed in time for the Russian to participate in the U.S. Open. Her lower seeding, however, forced her to play top-ranked players earlier than she would have liked.
Sharapova’s serve seems back to normal putting behind worries early on as she struggled to fully recover from her shoulder injury.
Her double fault spiral seems to have ended. Seeded now in the top 20, Sharapova will continue her climb back into the top 10.
The Top 10
10. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Last Power Ranking: 4; WTA Ranking: 13)
Last Four Tournaments: U.S. Open [R 16}, Montreal [Semifinalist], Cincinnati [R64], San Diego [Winner].
Power Ranking Points: 457
Svetlana Kuznetsova came into the U.S. Open with much hope and expectation.
Most of 2010 the Russian seemed to flounder, being dismissed early in tournaments by players she should have defeated easily.
Her ranking began to fall slowly but surely. After failing to defend her French Open Championship, Kuznetsova’s ranking fell out of the top 10 to No. 19 in the world.
Finally this summer, the Russian began to return to form, finding her ranking edging forward.
Seeded No. 11 at the U.S. Open, Kuznetsova made it to the fourth round where she met and was defeated by Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 7-6.
Outside Looking In:
1. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WTA Ranking 20) Power Ranking Points = 399
19 year old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova set the stage for her rise in the rankings by winning the tournament in Istanbul in July. She followed that up by arriving in the semifinals of Cincinnati, where she lost to Maria Sharapova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. She also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open losing to Francesca Schiavone in the round of 16.
2. Elena Dementieva (WTA Ranking 10) Power Ranking Points = 378
Elena Dementieva suffered a calf injury during the French Open, and has not returned to form since that time. Injuries kept her out of Wimbledon, and shortened her participation in the hard court season. She did however make it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open where she lost to Samantha Stosur 6-3, 2-6, 7-6. Hopefully, the Russian will make it back into the top 10, and find a way to win that first major in 2011.
3. Ana Ivanovic (WTA Ranking 37) Power Ranking Points = 368
Slowly but surely, Ivanovic is inching up the rankings ladder, now finding herself at No. 37. She made the semifinals in Cincinnati where she lost to Kim Clijsters. She followed that up by making it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open where she lost again to Clijsters.
4. Yanina Wickmayer (WTA Ranking 21) Power Ranking Points = 343
Wickmayer suffered from a right elbow injury right before the French Open and underwent surgery. She made it to the third round of Wimbledon in 2010, her best result to date. The Belgian Wickmayer made it to the quarterfinals of Cincinnati, and later advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open falling to Kaia Kanepi 0-6, 7-6, 6-1. At age 20, Wickmayer has the game to advance up the rankings during her career. Hopefully 2011 will bring new opportunities.
[The Power Ranking Series is authored by JA Allen, Marianne Bevis and Ronger Fengerer (Feng Rong). To understand the point system compiled by Feng, click here.]