PYW Rankings [After Australian Open & ITF Waikoloa] + Review!
After two weeks of preparatory events, we arrived in Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the year. The Australian Open was sure to cause a big shake-up in the rankings. Many questions arose in our minds. Would Shinobu Asagoe be able to defend her title? Would the Eastern European players dominate once more? Could Jelena Dokic make good use of her wild card? And would Martina Hingis go far in only her third PYW tournament?
In the second week, gossip switched to who would held the #1 position in PYW after the Australian Open. Kim Clijsters was at risk of losing this position, after her loss to Francesca Schiavone early in the second week. True, Elena Dementieva would have to win the Australian Open to overtake the Belgian, but, despite the strong field, this was not completely unthinkable. And in the end, the young Russian saw that her hideous Yonex outfit did not affect her chances of winning. In the final, she outplayed and outlasted compatriot Anastasia Myskina, who became runner-up of the year's first Grand Slam for the second year in a row. Despite the loss and the many points she had to defend, she will overtake Daniela Hantuchova as PYW's #3.
And then there was the year's first ITF event. In sunny Waikoloa, Hawaii, thirty-two players fought hard on the hardcourts. Slovakia's Lubomira Kurhajcova reached her first ever tournament final in PYW, but went down to the surprising Irish qualifier Kelly Liggan. With Liggan and Dementieva taking titles in the third and fourth week on tour, we have now witnessed seven PYW events, seven different winners and fourteen different finalists. Surely, this is bound to effect the rankings.
Important changes in the rankings:
Ana Ivanovic is the big starlet of the PYW Tour. She is doing extremely well early in the season and is establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with on the tour. After her tournament win in Sydney, she reached the semi finals of the Australian Open, bowing out to Myskina in straight sets. Nevertheless, her wins over Schiavone, Hingis, Yan, Bremond and Perry helped the Serbian to improve her self-confidence and her ranking.
Old Rank: 13 New Rank: 8 (+5)
Having retired, it is quite an accomplishment to still be ranked among the best ten players on tour. Surely, she will soon fade away, but Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva only dropped three spots after the Australian Open. Quite a good job for a retired player!
Having to defend points is not always easy. Maria Kirilenko of Russia witnessed this, as she was unable to repeat last year's semi final performance. Her first round match against compatriot Evgenia Linetskaya proved lopsided, as the #25-seed bowed out 4-6 3-6. Bye Bye Kirilenko.
Old Rank: 11 New Rank: 19 (-8)
Serbi.. Australian Jelena Dokic's PYW results are considerably more solid and consistent than her nationality. Having to profit from WCs, the daughter of loony Damir did an exceptional job taking Dementieva to three sets in the semi finals. This feat, together with wins over Kuznetsova, Venus Williams, Domachowska, Sugiyama and Razzano, got her a big rise in the rankings.
Old Rank: 39 New Rank: 26 (+13)
It was a great week for Harkleroad & Co. Ashley Harkleroad qualified in real life, saw her husband qualify for real in the men's draw and she herself went on to give the Australian Open champion her toughest match yet. Wasting a match point in the second set, the qualifier collapsed, but was consoled with a Top 50 ranking.
Old Rank: 92 New Rank: 42 (+50)
Being absent at the Australian Open, Kelly Liggan was not expected to make a big rise in the rankings. But her sensational win at the ITF event of Waikoloa meant a big improvement of her #390 ranking.
Old Rank: 390 New Rank: 219 (+171)
Of course, there are more huge jumps. What about Serena Williams disappearing out of the Top 50? Schiavone jumping a bit? Zuluaga witnessing the consequences of her retirement? Kuznetsova cracking the Top 50? Bartoli unable to repeat last year's good results? Or the Chinese successes of Zi Yan and Tian Tian Sun? Download the files to see more!
Player of the Week:
Whenever a Grand Slam event is held, the player of the week has to be none other than the Grand Slam champion. Elena Dementieva did not only win the Australian Open, but also took over Kim Clijsters's #1 position, being only the third player in PYW History to have ever hold this position.
Road to the title:
R128: Julia Schruff GER | 7-5 6-0 R64: Ting Li CHN [Q] | 6-1 6-2 R32: Angela Haynes USA [Q] | 7-5 6-2 R16: Nadia Petrova RUS  | 4-6 6-3 6-3 QF: Ashley Harkleroad USA [Q] | 4-6 7-6 6-1 (Saved MPs!) SF: Jelena Dokic AUS [WC] | 6-2 6-7 6-1 F: Anastasia Myskina RUS  | 6-4 3-6 6-3 The Files: