Inactive during the past fortnight, Sharapova dropped two places in the rankings to #14 as a result of some excellent performances by the players just below her.  While she caresses her strings above, we’ll recap some of the big winners and losers from both the WTA and the ATP.


Murray (4):  The 2009 champion failed to win a set and once more exchanged places with Nadal after Rafa’s semifinal run.  On the other hand, he has only a relatively modest number of points to defend on clay, whereas the Spaniard has virtually no room to gain before he reaches Paris.

Roddick (7):  The top-ranked American’s sensational month vaulted him past Soderling despite the Swede’s consecutive semifinals.

Youzhny (13):  Sensational so far in 2010, the Russian has erupted from a lengthy slump to challenge the game’s elite.  He defeated a rusty Wawrinka and profited from Fish’s retirement.   Just a hint:  you might hear more about him from us in the near future.  😉

Berdych (16):  He fully earned his highest ranking in years by defeating not one, not two, but three higher-ranked players at Key Biscayne.  There’s plenty of room for him to keep ascending, too.

Simon (26):  Frenchman’s free fall continues after failing to win so much as a set all month.  He’s gone from beating the top players to threatening the top players to not threatening the top players to not threatening anyone.

Almagro (34):  Yet another talented Spaniard fully profited from the section vacated by Djokovic to plow his way to the quarterfinals against unremarkable opposition.

Chardy (44):  A French star of the future avenged his loss to Querrey in Indian Wells by rallying from a one-set deficit against him here before forcing the afore-mentioned Almagro into a third set.


Venus (4):  Big sister supplants Kuznetsova after extending her winning streak to 15 consecutive matches.  If she can hold her ground, she won’t risk facing  little sister in the quarterfinal of a major event, better for her and better for the audience.

Azarenka (9):  The defending champion defended a little longer than her counterpart Murray, especially considering her brutal draw.  But she continues to struggle mentally against vaunted veterans and dropped two spots as a consequence.  We’ll see if she can regain her momentum on the clay.

Clijsters (10):  Her return to the top 10 was all but inevitable, since she has no points to defend until Cincinnati.  If she continues to perform at the level that she displayed in Miami, she’ll be back in the top 5 by the late summer.  Maintaining  a standard of excellence is easier than done, however.

Bartoli (12):  The Frenchwoman’s game may be eccentric, even unique, but her results have been more consistent than many of her peers.  She did well to capitalize on the opportunity offered by an injured Kuznetsova and an upset-riddled quarter.  If you open a door for her, she’ll almost always walk through it.

Li (15) / Pennetta (16):  These two veterans skidded downwards after dropping three-setters in their opening rounds.  Li failed to win a match at either Indian Wells or Miami, losing consecutive third-set tiebreaks (and double-faulting on match point).  Nevertheless, you’re going to hear more about her shortly, too.  😉

Rezai (20):  She accomplished nothing at all in Key Biscayne, losing her opener to a wildcard, but somehow still makes her top 20 debut.

Henin (23):  A superb semifinal run in which she defeated two top-ten players and Zvonareva launches Henin ten places closer to the top.  It’s likely that she’ll be seeded in the top 16 for Roland Garros and perhaps in the top 8 for Wimbledon.

Pavlyuchenkova (30):  The promising but still inconsistent Russian (once the #1 junior) returns to the top 30 by knocking off Schiavone, never an easy assignment.

Cirstea (36):  The very promising but still very inconsistent Romanian fell off the radar for the last several months  but knocked off Portuguese phenom Larcher de Brito.  Armed with the expert skills of Antonio van Grichen as her new coach, she should progress further during the road to Roland Garros, where she reached a quarterfinal last year after upsetting Jankovic.  A tricky first-round against Kirilenko looms in Marbella, though.

Ivanovic (57):  One match won, one ranking spot gained.  She made three great decisions during the tournament:  1)  retaining her new coach, Heinz Gunthardt, who seems an excellent personality match for her, 2) withdrawing from the pressure-soaked Fed Cup tie, 3) taking a wildcard into the Stuttgart event.  If she can maximize her match play during the clay court season, she should post more wins and gain more confidence, essential for her aggressive game.  Nearly half of her total rankings point (560 of 1172) come from fourth-round appearances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon next year, so she’ll want to build as much of a buffer as she can should she fail to reproduce those results.  Ana almost definitely will be unseeded for both Slams and could find herself anywhere in the draws.


Unless something especially newsworthy occurs in Marbella or Ponte Vedra Beach during the next few days, we’ll be busily working on our second player profile, which will follow the same format as the Radwanska essay (5 highlights, 5 lowlights, 3 strengths, 3 weaknesses, projected future results).  It should be published before the end of the week!  🙂