Serena eyes top spot
Originally published on: 13/02/13 00:00
After missing out on the chance to recapture the No.1 ranking at the Australian Open, Williams is once more just two wins away from reclaiming the spot she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in October 2010.
Williams is competing with Maria Sharapova and current occupant Victoria Azarenka for the top spot in Doha but it’s the 15-time Grand Slam champion who is best positioned to make the leap. If the American reaches the semi-finals she’ll move to world No.1 regardless of what Azarenka and Sharapova do in the tournament.
“I think it will be a great feeling,” said Williams, who has previously spent 123 weeks at No.1. “I obviously want it, but it's not the only thing I want.”
Up next for Williams is the winner of Urszula Radwanska and Roberta Vinci and if she can come through that challenge she is seeded to face either Petra Kvitova or Nadia Petrova in the quarter-finals.
Australian Open champion Azarenka, who spent the majority of last year at No.1, needs to reach the final and hope Williams does not make the semi-final in order to hold onto her ranking.
“For me, it's just extra motivation to live and play in this era,” said Azarenka, who received a bye in the opening round. “So many great girls are really stepping up their game. For me as a player, it's really exciting.”
Sharapova needs to win the title to have any chance of returning to the top spot, a ranking she first achieved back in 2005. “From a personal perspective, I think the further you go in the tournament, the better chance you give yourself to regain that ranking,” said the Russian. “So I think that all of us will be focusing on just one step at a time. And it also depends on other players' results, so it's tough to focus on that too much.”