The Australian Open resulted in a changing of the guard atop the rankings, with champion Victoria Azarenka becoming the 21st player in WTA history - and the first Belarusian - to claim the No.1 spot. Previously No.3, Azarenka was the first player to make it to No.1 without ever having been No.2.
"It's a dream come true," said Azarenka, one of six players at the start of the fortnight with a shot at No.1. "I have been dreaming and working so hard to win a Grand Slam, and being No. 1 is a pretty good bonus with that."
Here are landmark ranking achievements from throughout Azarenka's career:
|7/10/06||No.99||Top 100 debut|
|5/17/07||No.49||Top 50 debut after SF showing in Prague|
|5/12/08||No.19||Top 20 debut after SF showing in Berlin|
|3/23/09||No.10||Top 10 debut after SF showing in Indian Wells|
|4/11/11||No.5||Top 5 debut after winning Marbella|
|01/30/12||No.1||No.1 debut after starting season 12-0 with two titles|
As for the woman Azarenka replaced at No.1, Caroline Wozniacki fell to No.4. But the Dane has a lot to be proud of, having been No.1 for 67 weeks, ninth-most all-time. Other news within the Top 10 included two players establishing new career-highs. After spending 29 career weeks at No.8, Agnieszka Radwanska climbed to No.6, and Marion Bartoli went from No.9 to No.7, the highest a Frenchwoman has been ranked since Amélie Mauresmo was also No.7 in September 2007.
Also reaching career-highs were No.14 Sabine Lisicki, No.27 Angelique Kerber, No.38 Christina McHale - the WTA's highest-ranked teen - No.46 Galina Voskoboeva and No.92 Nina Bratchikova. Voskoboeva and Bratchikova made their Top 50 and Top 100 debuts, respectively, with Bratchkova's 44-spot jump the largest within the Top 100.
Other movers of note were Daniela Hantuchova and Romina Oprandi. Hantuchova went up a spot to No.20, her first venture within the Top 20 since November 2008. Oprandi vaulted from No.80 to No.63 to become the top-ranked Swiss player, having switched her nationality from Italian since the last rankings were released.