Power Rankings: Sharapova aims for title in Paris; Gavrilova into top 20
Welcome to SI Tennis Power Rankings – a new recurring feature on SI.com that goes beyond the regular ATP and WTA rankings to grade and rank the top 20 men's and women's players by more than just points earned on tour. While tournament results and quality of play are considered, SI Tennis’ Power Rankings also take into account those unquantifiable metrics that make the sport so compelling—everything from injuries and meltdowns to big upsets and recent title wins, as well as other subjective assessments. Each edition of SI Tennis Power Rankings is intended to capture a more seasonal and timely portrait of the current tennis rankings.
Check out the newest edition of SI Tennis Power Rankings below, ahead of the 2015 French Open.
Her undefeated start to the season finally ended at the hands of Petra Kvitova in Madrid and she withdrew from Rome a week later due to an elbow injury. But with a 25-1 record in 2015, she remains the woman to beat on tour.
There was an on-going back-and-forth tussle with Simona Halep for the No. 2 ranking and thus the No. 2 seed in Paris went Sharapova's way, thanks to a run to the semifinals in Madrid and her third Rome title. She's peaking at just the right time for the French Open, where she's made three straight finals.
The Romanian went 24-2 to start the season on hard courts. Then as the tour transitioned to her best surface she went 5-3 on clay and did not make a final. Halep could easily play herself into form in Paris, but it's hard to ignore the red flags.
When she plays her best tennis she is second only to Serena in terms of pure quality. She showed that by romping to her second Madrid title, beating Serena along the way. Of course, that result is sandwiched between a first round loss to Madison Brengle in Stuttgart and her third loss of the season to Carla Suarez Navarro in Rome.
She's made the quarterfinals or better at nine of her ten tournaments this season, including three finals. On clay she took Sharapova to three sets in the Rome final before succumbing to fatigue. If she can manage her energy levels in Paris, she's a solid pick for the semifinals.
The Dane was a revelation en route to the Stuttgart final but never reached those heights afterwards. She played aggressive, relentless tennis in Germany but reverted to her more passive stance in Madrid (l. Sharapova) and Rome (l. Azarenka).
After back-to-back titles in Charleston and Stuttgart, a little fatigue was understandable for Kerber. But losses to Samantha Stosur (Madrid) and Irina-Camelia Begu (Rome) shouldn't happen if she's playing her game. She's a tough one to handicap in Paris.
She hasn't made the impact we might have expected on clay given her comfort on the dirt, but Bacsinszky remains a solid threat at any tournament she enters.
The Russian veteran came out of nowhere to make the final in Madrid, notching wins over Makarova, Safarova, Muguruza, Stosur and Sharapova. After that heavy workload she pulled out of Rome to rest up for the French Open.
She played just two clay lead-ups, losing to Serena in three sets in Madrid and to Sharapova in straight sets in Rome. The level is there, it's just the confidence that needs work.
Previous Power Ranking: 8
After a good showing in Charleston, where she made the semifinals, Petkovic has played just one complete match on European clay. A leg injury forced her out of Stuttgart and Nuremberg, and a stomach virus kept her out of Madrid and Rome. She'll go into Paris undercooked on clay and defending semifinal points.
Still at No. 10 in the WTA Road to Singapore, Keys was a revelation when she blasted her way into the Charleston final to play one of the best matches of the season against Kerber. Since then she lost to No. 53 Kaia Kanepi in Madrid and No. 73 Bojana Jovanovski in Rome.
The Ukrainian has already established herself as a solid young player, though her results may not always grab the headlines. She won her third career title in Marrakech last month and finally broke into the Top 20.
She's been in a holding pattern since making the Australian Open semifinal. She's made just one quarterfinal since February.
Safarova has made little impact on clay, taking losses to Wozniacki, Kuznetsova, Tereza Smitkova and Alexandra Dulgheru.
The Russ-stralian has had an incredible couple of months. First came her upset win over Sharapova in Miami and then her run to her first WTA semifinal—as a qualifier, no less—last week in Rome.
One of the standouts on hard courts, she was never going to play her best on clay. But she still won the Prague Open, her first title of the season.
The Frenchwoman took Sharapova to three tight sets in Madrid, losing 7–5 in the third. But she took three straight three-set losses on dirt. How will the nerves stand up in Paris?
Just two clay tournaments for Venus and both ended in losses that she shouldn't lose sleep over, bowing out to Azarenka in Madrid and Halep in Rome.
She hasn't won back-to-back matches since February. It could all come together for her in Paris but she has not shown the form she displayed when she upended Serena in Paris last year and made her first Slam quarterfinal.