April 8, 2009

A New #1?

Current world #1 Serena Williams made it to the finals in Miami last week, while #2 Dinara Safina didn't get past the third round. The two battled in the Australian Open finals in early February, when Serena rolled over the Russian in less than an hour to claim her fourth title in Melbourne. It was Williams' tenth major win -- while Safina, in two final appearances, hasn't yet brought home a Slam. She also hasn't won a championship since Tokyo last year.

Apparently, all that history doesn't matter.

In a little more than a week, Dinara will take over the #1 ranking, becoming only the nineteenth woman -- and second Russian -- to hold the spot. She also is part of the only brother-sister duo to claim the position -- twenty-nine year old Marat Safin was at the top of his game for nine weeks in 2000 and 2001.

To add insult to injury, Williams suffered a tough first-round loss to 95th-ranked Klara Zakopalova in Andalucia earlier today -- a tournament Safina, incidentally, didn't even enter.

I don't mean to imply that Safina doesn't deserve the #1 ranking -- she had a stellar 2008, winning four titles and Olympic silver. She rose from #15 in the world at the start of last year to #2 now, and has notched wins over Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva and Vera Zvonareva all in the past twelve months. Obviously, and somewhat hearteningly, that success counts for something.

Even if Serena's had the more successful year so far -- hard work does, it seems, pay off.

No comments: