Vera Zvonareva, this year’s finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open, replaced the ailing Serena Williams in her rise to the number two world ranking today. This distinction, however, may not be the final one of the year for Zvonareva in her best season on tour to date. In fact, she has the chance to overtake Caroline Wozniacki’s relatively new top ranking at the year-ending tournament in Doha.
Here’s Zvonareva’s reaction via Facebook: “Just heard I have reached #2 in the world rankings! I have worked really hard this year so it is nice to see the results pay off. Also had a good time here in Doha at the player party and draw ceremony yesterday. Playing my first round robin match tomorrow.”
For her to nab the top spot, explains an Associated Press article, Zvonareva “must win all three matches in the group stage and then make it to the final, while all Wozniacki has to do is win two of her round robin matches to retain her ranking.” It continues, “If Zvonareva loses a match in the round robin, Wozniacki would then only need to win one of hers.”
Therefore, many things need to happen for Zvonareva to take hold of this opportunity — being the world’s best at the year’s end.
The idea that she may become the world number one is frankly a little mystifying, despite her excellent showing in majors this year. Maybe it’s the fact that the media simply doesn’t hype her the way it does Serena, Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, and others. Or, it could be the fact that her on-court temperament still lacks that of a true champion. Whatever the case, Zvonareva has proven she’s here to stay atop the highest tier of the WTA tour for a long time coming.
In Bobby Chintapalli’s recent post, “Small Babe, Big Results,” we get a strong sense of Zvonareva’s ability to overwhelm her opponents with tricky shot selection and the ability to change up pace and spin. Writes Chintapalli, “You’re not immediately sure what Zvonareva did, but you know she did something right. It’s fitting, because that’s how she can make her opponents feel when she plays well.” This refreshing quality makes Zvonareva an interesting candidate for the top position — just like Wozniacki a few weeks ago and Jelena Jankovic before
Now, it’s a matter of the media taking her under its wing, too. If she wins her first-round match against the struggling Jankovic in Doha tomorrow, she’ll be well on her way.