2009 Ranking Movers
Published December 02, 2009 12:00
Week after week, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings change, with hot players ascending and struggling ones sliding. So who, in another memorable season on Tour, made the greatest ranking improvement and who had the greatest regression?
Of those ranked in the Top 100, as of November 9, 2009, the following had the biggest ranking jumps from where they started the year:
Kim Clijsters: Unranked to No.18
A bit misleading, as she did not even return to the Tour until August following a more than two-year absence, so obviously she had nowhere to go but up. However, she exceeded even the wildest expectations with several impressive results, highlighted by the US Open title.
Andrea Petkovic: No.379 to No.56 = 323 places up
The 22-year-old German had only won three Tour main draw matches before running off five in a row en route to an unlikely title in Bad Gastein in July . The very next week, she won three more matches en route to a semifinal showing in Istanbul, resulting in her rising to a career-high of No.52 on August 3.
Alexandra Dulgheru: No.343 to No.51 = 292 places up
The 20-year-old Romanian shot up the rankings and into the spotlight by capturing the Premier-level title in Warsaw in May. Ranked No.201 at the start of the week, it was her first-ever Tour main draw event. She also was victorious at three ITF Circuit events. She established her career-high ranking of No.51 on the November 9 year-end rankings.
Arantxa Parra Santonja: No.296 to No.91 = 205 places up
The Spaniard's rise was fueled by improving her match record from 18-12 in 2008 to 36-20 in 2009, which included two ITF Circuit titles.
Tatjana Malek: No.240 to No.68 = 172 places up
The German's ascension was triggered by her first career Tour singles quarterfinal showing in Barcelona and three ITF Circuit titles. She achieved her career-high of No.64 on September 14.
Of those ranked in the Top 100, as of November 9, 2009, the following had the biggest ranking declines from where they started the year:
Tsvetana Pironkova: No.44 to No.99 = 55 places down
Although she did make the quarterfinals in Hobart and Moscow this year, the Bulgarian's 23-27 match record did not measure up to 2008 when her 36-23 record included a Tour semifinal showing and quarterfinal appearance.
Anna Chakvetadze: No.18 to No.70 = 52 places down
The Russian had her lowest season-ending ranking since 2004, only making it as far as the quarters in one event - New Haven, a year after having one title, one runner-up showing, one semifinal appearance and three quarterfinal showings.
Anne Keothavong: No.60 to No.100 = 40 places down
Her season-ending ranking of No.100 was actually her second-best in 11 years on Tour and her season included three of her four career semifinal showings. So how to explain her rankings decline from where she started 2009? Injury. She did not play after July, when she suffered a knee injury. In fact, she was ranked No.54 at the start of her last event, so she actually would have risen in the rankings from season's start to finish if the year concluded in July.
Alizé Cornet: No.15 to No.50 = 35 places down
The French teenager looked to be a rising star on Tour in 2008, winning one singles title and having one runner-up showing and three semifinal appearances. However, she took a step back this year, with her semifinal showing in Bad Gastein her best result. Also, her match record fell from 37-24 last year to 20-28 this year.
Kaia Kanepi: No.26 to No.61 = 35 places down
The Estonian actually finished 2009 with her second-highest ranking ever, but her season still paled in comparison to 2008, when she had one runner-up showing, two semifinal appearances and four quarterfinal showings on Tour, including at Roland Garros. Her 2009 season was highlighted by one semifinal appearance and two quarterfinal showings. Unfortunately, after her quarterfinal showing in Rome in May, she did not win another match the rest of the season, going 0-11 from there (0-12 when including the loss in Rome).
As far as the doubles rankings, Hsieh Su-Wei made the biggest jump amongst year-end Top 10 players, going from No.54 at the start of the year to No.9 at the end. Also making big jumps were Nuria Llagostera Vives - who went from No.30 to No.5, Serena Williams - who went from No.27 to No.3, and Venus Williams - who went from No.23 to No.3. The only year-end top 10 player who finished the year lower ranked than she started was Virginia Ruano Pascual, who went from No.5 to No.10.