Women's Look Forward: Week of February 18
Posted on 2/17/2002 at 5:45 PM
The day is finally at hand. Venus Williams will be #1 next week.
It doesn't even matter whether she plays Dubai. The combination of her win at Antwerp, and Jennifer Capriati's failure to play anything since the Australian Open, means that Venus will grab the #1 spot. At least for a week. Capriati is defending points from Oklahoma City -- except that she isn't defending them. Once they come off, Venus is #1.
There remains the question of how long she can keep it. Capriati will have another chance at Scottsdale, and Venus has semifinal points from Indian Wells which, based on current commitment lists, she will not attempt to defend. Venus also has the Ericsson title to defend. Venus's chances of keeping the #1 ranking may depend on her results at Dubai.
The other potential change in the Top Five is also the result of a non-defence. Martina Hingis is defending Dubai champion, and she isn't coming back. That will allow Kim Clijsters to take the #4 ranking, pushing Hingis to #5 -- her lowest ranking in more than five years. Hingis, however, will regain #4 at Scottsdale when Lindsay Davenport's points come off, and she could very well earn the #3 ranking. If she doesn't, she will almost certainly earn it at Indian Wells.
There probably won't be movement in the rest of the Top Ten. The only players between #6 and #10 who are playing are Monica Seles and Amelie Mauresmo. Mauresmo is 500 points behind #9 Serena Williams; she can't move up. But she's also more than 450 points ahead of #11 Sandrine Testud, and so cannot move down.
Seles, far behind Hingis and Clijsters and with the Oklahoma City title to defend, cannot move up. An early loss could cause her to fall behind #7 Justine Henin, #8 Jelena Dokic, and even #9 Serena Williams. But while she might lose early enough to fall behind Henin and Dokic, in this draw it seems nearly certain that she will stay ahead of Serena.