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Will Safina stay at number one?

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So Dinara Safina will be the new world number one.

A more engaging and entertaining personality you would struggle to find in women's tennis at the moment, and reaching the pinnacle of such a competitive sport is something to be applauded.

April 20th will also be a magnificent day for her family as she will match brother Marat, who became the ATP number one on 20 November, 2000, making them the first brother-sister duo to top the rankings.

Their parents and everyone at the Spartak tennis club in Moscow can reflect on a job very well done.

But… it is a shame that Safina will take over at the top of the game just when her form has tailed off.

Runner-up finishes in Sydney and Melbourne at the start of the year have not been backed up and she will be keen to get back to Europe's clay courts, where she prospered last year.

And the key for any player with aspirations to dominate the game and make their mark in the history books is to win Grand Slam titles, something the 22-year-old has yet to do.

Jelena Jankovic had to answer similar criticisms when she reached number one last year and it is telling that, on hearing the news on Wednesday, Safina herself said: "There’s no question that while I am very proud of my results over the past year, I would have liked to reach this achievement in a different manner.

"I hope to prove to everyone over the coming months that I merit the honor of being world number one."

Safina made progress in the last year by reaching the finals of the French Open and Australian Open, but played poorly in both.

So will she relish the challenge of improving on that and go from strength to strength, or will she be a mere footnote in this list of WTA world number ones....?

Steffi Graf (GER) - August 17, 1987 (377 weeks*)
Martina Navratilova (TCH/USA) - July 10, 1978 (332 weeks)
Chris Evert (USA) - November 3, 1975 (260 weeks)
Martina Hingis (SWI) - March 31, 1997 (209 weeks)
Monica Seles (YUG/USA) - March 11, 1991 (178 weeks)
Justine Henin (BEL) - October 20, 2003 (117 weeks)
Lindsay Davenport (USA) - October 12, 1998 (98 weeks)
Serena Williams (USA) - July 8, 2002 (72 weeks)
Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) - September 13, 2004 (39 weeks)
Tracy Austin (USA) - April 7, 1980 (21 weeks)
Kim Clijsters (BEL) - August 11, 2003 (19 weeks)
Jelena Jankovic (SER) - August 11, 2008 (18 weeks)
Jennifer Capriati (USA) - October 15, 2001 (17 weeks)
Maria Sharapova (RUS) - August 22, 2005 (17 weeks)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) - June 9, 2008 (12 weeks)
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (SPA) - February 6, 1995 (12 weeks)
Venus Williams (USA) - February 25, 2002 (11 weeks)
Evonne Goolagong Cawley (AUS) - April 26, 1976 (2 weeks)
Dinara Safina (RUS) - April 20, 2009 (1 weeks)

* Total weeks at number one; can be non-consecutive.

Latest 10 comments

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posted Apr 10, 2009

I don't get why Safina is number she isn't playing this week and Serena hasn't pulled out of charleston has she. Anyway this mess the ranking system is in will be sorted as soon as Serena does well at the french open and us open series.

Good to see Venus closing in on the top spot with little clay court points to defend. She could make a move. Its such a shame see had a hash of an australian open.

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comment by C2 (U9956155)

posted Apr 10, 2009

"I don't get why Safina is number (one) she isn't playing this week..."

Always happy to help, tennisinsaniac, especially when it's a Williams receiving SOME of her due deserts and the puzzled poster is a Williams supporter!

Serena presently has 9132 points.
Here there may be a small matter for concern, WTA state the 9132 total is from sixteen tournaments, however I can only find fifteen!
Whatever, the difference it makes to the total would be 1 (one) point and effectively inconsequential.

9132 + 1 (Marbella ) = 9133 points over the regulation sixteen tourneys for the Monday April 13 chart (according to me).

The 'meat' of the assessment and incontrovertible is for Monday April 20's listing.
As Serena won the title in Charleston 2008, 860 points will be deducted.
9133 - 860 = 8273 points.
Charleston has been downgraded this year to a Premier 2 event with a title championship points allocation of 470 points.
So Serena can only gain a maximum of 470 points even if she were to successfully defend her title and as I understand - she may well not attend.

So,
8273 + 470 = 8743 points and the maximum amount Serena can have on April 20. (The day Dinara displaces her!<magic>)

Dinara presently has 8951 points and loses her 2008 Amelia Island, 70 points in next Monday's listings (13th), however Dinara's present 17th tournament is worth 150 points so,
8951 - 70 + 150 (to ensure sixteen tournaments are incuded) = 9031 points.
Dinara has 120 points to defend from Charleston 2008.
9031 - 120 = 8911 points.

So as you can see Serena's maximum April 20 position = 8743 points and that anticipates her playing Charleston which is looking more and more unlikely.
Dinara's minimum = 8911 points.
I say MINIMUM for Dinara as there are rumours she may play Charleston.
As I understand it, Dinara is not appearing, however should she play then naturally points won would be added, hence minimum 8911.

As you can see 8911 - 8743 = 168 points difference, which is why Serena would've had to have made the final in Marbella AND successfully defend Charleston to hold onto (just) her world number one position, should Dinara not play Charleston.

Serena 9132 (current) + 1 (Marbella) = 9133 - 860 (Charleston 2008) = 8273 + 470 (Charleston 2009 max) = 8743 points maximum available.

Dinara 8951 (current) - 70 (Amelia Island 2008) + 150 (current 17th) = 9031 - 120 (Charleston 2008) = 8911 points minimum (total subject to Charleston 2009).

All figures are, of course, my assessments and subject to WTA confirmation.
The WTA have announced a new world number one from April 20 and these are my calculations of how such projections may have been achieved.

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comment by shivfan (U2435266)

posted Apr 11, 2009

Does anyone think Safina has a chance of winning the French this year?
:-)

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posted Apr 11, 2009

“Does anyone think Safina has a chance of winning the French this year?”

shivfan, I don’t think she will. A quarter final sounds more possible, maybe even a semi.

Conosu2, good breakdown and explanation. I was planning on doing the same, and then I came across your post.

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posted Apr 11, 2009

Always happy to help, tennisinsaniac, especially when it's a Williams receiving SOME of her due deserts and the puzzled poster is a Williams supporter!
===========
Good breakdown Conosu <ok>

Enjoy basking in the Safina position - lets see how long it lasts and whether she can validate it where it counts.

Its about time someone stepped up to the slam plate.

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posted Apr 11, 2009

Here there may be a small matter for concern, WTA state the 9132 total is from sixteen tournaments, however I can only find fifteen!
=============
Could be that WTA count the compulsory IW in the toal permissible - it should rank as a zero pointer.

It really is a rag bag of a website.

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comment by C2 (U9956155)

posted Apr 11, 2009

"Could be that WTA count the compulsory IW..."

Good spot Duggie, and of course you are correct.
I inserted it to see if anyone would know ! <laugh>
<doh>

In reality I have been going over it over and over.
I knew there was a simple explanation, or WTA had made an error, eventually....EVENTUALLY, I reluctantly settled for the latter!

Thanks Duggietoo <ok>

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posted Apr 11, 2009

Thanks Duggietoo
-----------
No probs Conosu - we may occasionally disagree on the Williams ;) but I do congratulate you on your attention to detail.

I just reall wish we could click on the points total ( like ATP) to see exactly how they are made up week to week.

I see its my little favourite Carla against JJ for the final.

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comment by C2 (U9956155)

posted Apr 11, 2009

You are very kind in your comments Duggietoo.<ok>
In reality I adore mathematical figures and so it is no chore.

Mistakes I may make or answers to apparently difficult problems (as the IW one you have highlighted) are invariably simple but no less irritating and occasionally hard to ascertain for that!

I do so agree with you concerning 'click on the points'- life would be so much easier.

Your 'little favourite' is a very compact little clay court player.
Sadly (for you) my 'little Serbian' has seen her off straight in both of their previous meetings in two of last year's majors (in neither of which, you may not know, did JJ go on to win!).<smiley>

Jelena disposed of Spain's number one, Medina-Garriguez in the semi and your little Spanish favourite will of course have comparable, if not superior home crowd support.

However the former world number one is gaining momentum and appears to be getting into rythmic winning ways after her appalling start to 2009.
JJ is a very experienced finalist with a 9-10 record in finals.
JJ is seeking her tenth tour title - Suarez-Navarro, her first.
Carla is also appearing in her maiden tour final.

JJ will want this title bad, to get her season properly up-and-running.
Of course Spain's and Duggietoo's 'little favourite' will be up for it also.

<sorry> JJ will be just to much for Carla, as she has been before.
First 2009 title for JJ (of many to come) with the expert help of your other 'little favourite' former town crier (he's got a loud voice) Ricardo Sanchez!

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posted Apr 11, 2009

'little favourite' former town crier (he's got a loud voice) Ricardo Sanchez!
=========
Well he's certainly got a big mouth :)

I shall be rooting for the delightful Carla - whatever the result a first final is good and I just love her style <ok>

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