Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
According to the latest WTA Tour rankings, happy-go-lucky Dane Caroline Wozniacki is the new No. 1 star in the women's game. How is that possible?
Sure, the 20-year-old leads the tour with an outstanding six titles already in 2010, including her latest one as recently as today (Monday) in Beijing. But the defensive specialist still has never won a Grand Slam title, and, get this, failed to even reach a major final this season. She's only ever appeared in one Grand Slam final, and that resulted in a loss against Kim Clijsters at last year's U.S. Open in New York.
Wozniacki, the first-ever Dane to ascend to No. 1, replaced the great Serena Williams atop the rankings on Monday, the same day the Odense native edged out Russian Vera Zvonareva in the day-late (because of rain) finale at the China Open.
Serena is a 13-time major champion and captured this year's Wimbledon and Australian Open titles. And the surging Zvonareva has appeared in the last two major finals, losing to Serena at Wimbledon and Clijsters in Flushing.
|Caroline Wozniacki ascended to No. 1 despite failing to reach a Grand Slam final this year.|
Should Wozniacki be ranked ahead of Serena and Zvonareva?
Granted, Serena has been sidelined for the last three months after having surgery to repair some cuts she suffered on her right foot on some broken glass in a German restaurant. But even with that inactivity, you'd think she'd still be ranked ahead Wozniacki?
And sure, Wozniacki just defeated Zvonareva in the final in Beijing, but don't forget that the Russian peppered the Dane in a semifinal at the U.S. Open just last month and performed in half of the Grand Slam finals in 2010, which is two more than Wozniacki reached this year.
For the record, Zvonareva and Wozniacki have split four meetings this season.
I'm not saying that Wozniacki is not a top player, I'm just sayin' that she's not THE top player.
Her tour-leading six titles this year might suggest otherwise, but you would think that most of the ranking weight would come from your results at the majors. The TOP player doesn't fail to reach a final in her last four Grand Slam events ... does she?
|Serena Williams is ranked No. 2 despite holding half of the major titles.|
Yes, she reached at least the fourth round at all four Slams this year, appearing in a quarterfinal at the French Open and semifinal at the U.S. Open, but she didn't break through to the big one, like Serena and Zvonareva each did twice. And the former No. 1 Clijsters is the most recent Grand Slam champ, and she's won the last two U.S. Opens. But the popular Belgian is ranked only fifth in the world?
And talk about goofy, Clijsters slid down in the rankings two days after she captured that second straight U.S. Open crown?
I gotta tell ya, if Wozniacki entered the same event as Serena or Clijsters, the Dane would not be the favorite, which doesn't sound like a world No. 1 to me. Sure, she'd be among the favorites, but most would expect Serena or Clijsters to come out with a title in that one. I know I would.
When Wozniacki handled Zvonareva in Beijing, she improved to an outstanding 59-15 for the year and 6-1 in her '10 finals. Great numbers by any account. But no Grand Slam titles ever and zero Grand Slam finals this year shouldn't move you to the top of the heap ... should it?
"I feel like I'm at a very high level and can beat anyone," Wozniacki said after topping Zvonareva in China. "If it [a Grand Slam title] doesn't happen next year, I'm still young and have a lot of years ahead of me."
|Vera Zvonareva is No. 3 in the world even though she's the only woman to appear in the last two Grand Slam finals.|
I guess she's No. 1 by default, since Serena's been out for a few months; Zvonareva, like Wozniacki, also hasn't captured a major title; Clijsters doesn't play enough to pile up the rankings points; and Justine Henin is inactive since suffering an elbow injury while playing Clijsters at Wimbledon this past summer. But Henin, unlike Wozniacki, did reach a Grand Slam final this year, losing to Serena in the land of Oz.
Note: Serena could actually be done for the year, having pulled out of this week's event in Austria because of that slow-recovering foot.
Maybe Wozniacki is now better than other fellow top-10 stars like Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone, Jelena Jankovic, Samantha Stosur and Elena Dementieva, but at least Schiavone reached a major final and captured a Grand Slam title this year, at the French Open, and Stosur landed in a major final, losing to Schiavone at Roland Garros.
It's hard to say who's really No. 1 on the women's side, but I don't think it's Wozniacki, who I did predict would reach the top at some point. I just didn't think she'd get there through the back door.