Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Australian Open: No. 1 No More!

Getty Images
Well folks, sooner or later it had to happen!

By losing in the quarterfinals at the 2012 Australian Open, current World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will relinquish the No. 1 ranking when the tournament is over. Wozniacki lost the quarterfinals match to defending champion and former-World No. 1 Kim Clijsters in straight sets 6-3, 7-6.

When the new rankings come out, Wozniacki, for certain, will drop to #3 and quite possibly to #4. She is already (mathematically) behind World No. 2 Petra Kvitova and World No. 3 Victoria Azarenka in ranking points as a result of her loss. She could also fall behind World No. 4 Maria Sharapova if Sharapova reaches the final.

Ironically, this could be the best thing that could have happened to the young Scandinavian from Denmark. Since taking over the #1 ranking, Wozniacki has been dogged with the question, "are you worthy of being #1 with no Grand Slam titles to your credit?" She held on to the top spot for an incredible 49 consecutive weeks and 67 weeks overall. She did this my having good showings in the major events and by winning plenty of non-Grand Slam tournaments. But unfortunately for her, in the world of tennis, you are judged by how many majors you have won.

And with no majors under her belt, Wozniacki was never viewed as an undisputed No. 1 player by many in the media.

Maybe now, without the pressure of the #1 ranking, the 21-year old Dane can work on her game and finally capture an elusive Grand Slam title down the road. At the end of the day, she is a great player with a bright future ahead.

As for the defending champion Kim Clijsters--

World #3 Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Kim Clijsters - Getty Images
Clijsters has a date with #3 Azarenka in the semifinals. Coincidentally, Azarenka is in the same boat as Wozniacki. Well actually, a bit worse. Azarenka is currently the points leader and has never reached a Grand Slam final in her career. At least Wozniacki has reached one final in her career, the 2009 U.S. Open. It his quite conceivable that Azarenka takes over the #1 ranking without the benefit of ever reaching a Grand Slam final. If #2 Kvitova losses her quarterfinal match, she cannot out-point Azarenka. If #4 Sharapova losses before the final, she too, cannot out-point Azarenka. Go figure!

But regardless of the outcomes, either, Azarenka, Kvitova or Sharapova will be the new World No. 1 after the Aussie. And defending champion Clijsters (currently #12 in the world) is probably better than all three of them. Again, go figure!

FOR THE RECORD: Wozniacki's 67 weeks at #1 are the most ever by a player who's never won a Grand Slam title. The most ever, BY FAR!

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