Maria Sharapova returned to the top five of the WTA Tour rankings this week after winning the French Open for a second time.
The 27-year-old Russian also seized the No. 1 spot in the Road to Singapore rankings, with the top eight based on points accumulated during the 2014 season earning berths at the WTA Championships in October. What does that mean? It means that after ending her 2013 season in August because of a shoulder injury and starting sluggishly in '14, Sharapova is having the best year of anyone on tour.
Sharapova climbed to No. 5 from No. 8 in the world rankings, part of a shakeup behind top-ranked Serena Williams and No. 2 Li Na. Simona Halep, who lost to Sharapova in the Roland Garros final, supplanted Agnieszka Radwanska at No. 3, a career high for the 22-year-old Romanian. An injured Victoria Azarenka, who hasn't played since the BNP Paribas Open in March, slipped from fifth to eighth.
In March, Sharapova fell to a three-year low of No. 9. Since then, however, she has won titles in Stuttgart, Germany, Madrid and Paris. She is in position to keep rising as long as she plays out the season. Last year she played just three matches after the French Open, winning one.
In other rankings news:
• French Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard, 20, achieved a career high of No. 12, a four-spot jump from two weeks ago.
• Another semifinalist, Andrea Petkovic, went from No. 27 to No. 20. At this time last year, Petkovic was ranked No. 136 after losing in qualifying for the French Open.
• Garbine Muguruza, 20, who upset Williams on her way to the quarterfinals, moved up seven spots to a career-high No. 27.
• Kurumi Nara (No. 39), American Alison Riske (No. 40), Camila Giorgi (No. 44), Karolina Pliskova (No. 48) and Ajla Tomljanovic (No. 51) were among the other players to reach career highs. • After making the third round in her Grand Slam debut, Taylor Townsend, 18, went up 55 spots to No. 150. How about that wild card, Wimbledon?