Power Rankings: Halep's ranking falls as Safarova rises ahead of Wimbledon
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 Wimbledon 2015.
Struck down with illness and coming back match after match after match to win in three sets, Serena won her third French Open title, 20th overall, and has now won the last three majors. If she wins Wimbledon she'll complete the "Serena Slam" for the second time in her career (holding all four majors) and will be one away from completing the Calendar Grand Slam and tying Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22 majors. No pressure.
Unable to defend her French Open title, Sharapova slipped to No. 4 in the rankings, though her loss to eventual finalist Lucie Safarova in the Round of 16 doesn't look so bad in hindsight. But what of Sharapova's grass court woes? Sure, she won her maiden title at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old in 2004, but since 2006 she has made it past the Round of 16 just once.
By making the Round of 16 she posted her best French Open performance since 2012, losing to Timea Bacsinszky in three sets. Her grass court preparation has been derailed by yet another viral illness and she'll go into her Wimbledon title defense cold.
In the last 12 months, Safarova has made the Wimbledon semifinals and French Open final. In the latter she put together a monumental run to the final, beating defending champion Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Garbine Muguruza, Sabine Lisicki, and Anastasia Pavluchenkova, and then pushed Serena to the brink in three sets. With a run like that on her worst surface, she's proven herself to be as dangerous as anyone.
The German may not be as consistent as in years past, but she's scoring bigger wins this season. Her Birmingham title last week was her third Premier-level WTA title of the season, an impressive clip given she had just one under her belt before this year.
Bacsinszky was being humble when she described her game as "trying to be efficient, not trying to be brilliant." There is an incredible intelligence behind her gamestyle and that showed in her run to the French Open semifinals, where she took Serena to three sets. She's never been past the second round at Wimbledon, but this is a new Timea. Anything is possible.
Is it just a case of stage fright? In her first 13 tournaments of the season the Spaniard made the quarterfinals or better at 11 tournaments. The two outliers? The Australian Open and French Open. As for her Wimbledon prospects, she's never made it past the third round there.
After a slight disappearing act during the clay season, Pliskova was back to business on grass, making her fourth final of the season in Birmingham. Dark horse for a deep run at Wimbledon?
Sound the "We Have Concerns!" klaxons. It was a disappointing clay season for Halep, which ended with a flat early loss to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. She took a bagel set from Kristina Mladenovic en route to a quarterfinal loss last week in Birmingham and then announced a split with her coach Victor Ionita, just a week before Wimbledon, where she's defending semifinal points. The Romanian just seems lost.
Still playing Top 10 tennis, still getting absolutely hosed by brutal draws. Azarenka once again had Serena on the ropes in Paris only to lose in three sets (didn't everybody?). Now she's dealing with a foot injury that forced her to withdraw from Birmingham. When is she going to catch a break?
Previous Power Ranking: 6
After a solid clay court lead-up, Wozniacki was bounced in the second round of the French Open by Julia Goerges. She's not playing bad tennis but while she's stalled out and the tour has moved to her worst surface, it's unlikely she'll make much noise until the summer hard courts.
After winning her first title of the season on clay in Marrakech (and second WTA title overall), the young Ukrainian made her first Slam quarterfinal at the French Open. Can she keep that momentum going? Her career record on grass: 2-6.
The Serb made a Slam semifinal for the first time since she won the French Open in 2008, but choked away a first set lead to lose in straights to Lucie Safarova. Then as the defending champion in Birmingham she lost in the first round to No. 135 Michelle Larcher de Brito. A Wimbledon semifinalist in 2007, can Ivanovic find a consistent level this year on grass?
Always solid, nothing flashy. She lost to Ivanovic in the fourth round of the French Open, ending her streak of Slam quarterfinals at three.
After a spotty stretch of play through March and April—she failed to win back-to-back matches in five events—Muguruza found her game just in time to make her second straight French Open quarterfinal, where she simply got outplayed by Safarova.
The American shook off what was a disappointing European clay season to make the third round of the French Open, scoring a big win over Belinda Bencic in the process. Now back on her favorite surface, Keys has all the weapons to make the second week at Wimbledon but her preparation has been limited due to illness. The defending champion in Eastbourne, she already lost her opening match to Bencic.
When her serve is firing, watch out. Lisicki is unreliable and erratic in most places, but she's always found a way to play her best tennis at Wimbledon. She fired a record 27 aces in a single match last week in Birmingham en route to the semifinals.
The Frenchwoman is starting to string together quality wins. In the last 30 days she's beaten Halep, Eugenie Bouchard twice and Keys. Currently on a hot streak, she'll be a dangerous player to draw in the first week at Wimbledon.
Petkovic's body just won't let her sustain a top level. After a great run through the spring hard courts, the German has struggled with a leg injury. Now she's on grass, a surface she has no problem telling you she hates.
After her straight set loss to Sloane Stephens in the first round of the French Open, Venus took a fine instead of speaking to the media, leaving everyone to wonder if she was just so sad, mad or over it. She still has the ability to summon some second week magic at Wimbledon.