After pretty much a year of Victoria Azarenka's reign on the top of the rankings (it was interrupted by Maria Sharapova for four weeks in the summer of 2012), women's tennis has a new No.1 – Serena Williams. Of course, not entirely new, Serena is on the top spot for the sixth time in her career and more than ten years after she first claimed it. As if she lacked historic accomplishments and awe-inspiring results, at the age of 31, Serena became the oldest female to become a No.1 since the computer rankings were introduced.
The move into the WTA penthouse happened after a grueling 3-6 6-3 7-5 three-setter against Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open. The seventh-seeded Kvitova took the first set without facing break points on her serve, but Serena won the second set by tripling her winners to unforced errors (12 to 4) and came back from 1-4 down in the third to finally close the match in her signature fashion, with an ace. After the victory, Serena was overflowing with emotions:
I'm so sensitive nowadays, I'm always crying! I never thought I would be here again. I've just been through so much and never thought I'd be here again.
Serena has now won 59 of her last 62 matches. It's time-consuming to even type out all Serena's just recent accomplishments: titles at Charleston, Madrid, Wimbledon, Stanford, Olympics, US Open and WTA Championships in 2012, and the momentum continued in the new season, with the Brisbane International title, the 47th in her career, which made her the most prolific active WTA player when it comes to the number of titles won. Serena will begin her 124th non-consecutive week as the No.1 player in the world on Monday.
In the other Qatar Total Open quarterfinal matches, Maria Sharapova brushed aside Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-4, and will next face the mighty Serena, the soon-to-not-be-No.1 Victoria Azarenka saw off Sara Errani 6-2 6-2 and will play Agnieszka Radwanska, the 6-2 7-5 winner over Caroline Wozniacki.
Will Radwanska finally stop the demoralizing losing streak against Azarenka, that dates back to the 2011 Indian Wells and that included five defeats in 2012? Serena is 10-2 against Sharapova and hasn't lost to the Russian since 2004! (photo: © Neal Trousdale)