It was quite the road, quite the journey, but after six months or so of anticipation following today’s win Serena Williams will finally reclaim the No. 1 ranking from (a relieved?) Dinara Safina when the new WTA rankings are released Monday.
Williams secured the top spot earlier today after a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ekatarina Makarova in the second round at the China Open in Beijing.
The win gives Serena just enough points to leap past the imploding Safina who lost in the second round, her fifth defeat in eight matches. At least Safina doesn’t have to worry about the No. 1 questions, for now anyway.
While many will say with Serena back at the No. 1 position that order on the WTA is restored, but I will argue otherwise.
My chief issue is Why is Serena even allowed to play?
The USTA, ITF, WTA and just about every alphabet organization that has their hands in tennis all said Serena was under investigation after threatening to re-arrange a lineswoman’s anatomy with a tennis ball at the US Open. That was last month. We all saw the tapes, heard Serena’s half-hearted apology, what’s the delay here? What’s to discuss? Where’s the penalty?
Serena of course was assessed a point-penalty after the outburst, but since the penalty was enforced on match point against her, Serena was disqualified giving Kim Clijsters the semifinal win and the US Open title a day later.
The general fan sentiment at the time was that Serena should have been immediately defaulted from the tournament – which would have DQ’d from the nationally televised doubles final – and suspended from the Tour.
As of yet, however, nothing has happened except the USTA upping Serena’s fine from a few grand to a $10,500 I believe. (Talk about a deterrence!)
The decision, if it comes, will be interesting. This is no ordinary case because if you suspend Serena for any length of time you also in some ways suspend her older sister, Venus, too. That’s my belief. It’s a package deal. The two work and play in tandem and crossing one is crossing both.
If I had to guess an outcome I will say little will come of this. Serena and Venus are the two biggest stars on the women’s tennis circus, er, circuit and the WTA/ITF/tennis cannot afford to lose them, especially next year during the US Open Series. There’s just too much money involved to keep them off the summer hardcourts though they may elect to just bypass the events anyway.
Best measure would have been to suspend Serena for the fall events and through November (a two-month suspension) since for most of the general public the tennis season ends anyway after the US Open. But we are getting late. And let’s not forget, Serena’s also now No. 1. Can you really suspend a No. 1?
As for the rest of Beijing, after last week’s putrid 0-6 first round effort by the top gals in Tokyo, this week there have been fewer upsets with Venus and Caroline Wozniacki joining Safina at the early exits.
Jelena Jankovic, who peculiarly retired over the weekend with a bad wrist to Maria Sharapova in the Tokyo final, was also defeated today in three sets by Peng Shuai. I guess JJ’s wrist wasn’t that injured after all of she was able to play on it just a few days later, and play three sets! Surprise!
Worth noting, had Jankovic won she would have played Sharapova in the third round. Maria continues to improve as she defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-5 in the third.
Speaking of upsets, plenty on the men’s side with Roddick and Del Potro both losing today. I will get to them in a separate post.
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