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Top 10 WTA players on the slide in 2010

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Originally published on: 15/12/10 12:05

WTA Rankings: 07/12/2009 to 06/12/2010

10.Svetlana Kuznetsova
Ranking slide: 3rd to 27th

A fourth round exit at the Australian Open was far from the start Kuznetsova had hoped for, but in the end it turned out to be the highlight of a pretty dismal first half of the season for the Russian. Even on clay, where she did so well in 2009 en route to winning her second Grand Slam title – at Roland Garros – she failed to rediscover anything close to the same form. After a third round exit to Maria Kirilenko in Paris, things did pick up in the latter half of the season when Kuznetsova won the San Diego title, reached the semis in Montreal and then made the last 16 at the US Open, but other than that, 2010 was pretty much a year to forget for the 25-year-old Russian.

9. Dinara Safina
Ranking slide: 2nd to 62nd

Safina re-defined the ‘nightmare year’ with her 2010 campaign. After an impressive 2009 season that saw her win three titles and make two Grand Slam finals, the 24-year-old Russian managed to reach just four quarter-finals and struggled to make it through the early rounds all year. She fell in the first round in five successive tournaments in the summer – her most notable exit coming to then 39-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm at Roland Garros. A recurrence of her ongoing back injury then followed, forcing her out of action for three months. On a positive note, unlike this year, Safina won’t have many points to defend next season. 

8. Sania Mirza
Ranking slide: 58th to 166th

It was a busy year for the Indian superstar, who married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik and was one of the headline acts at the Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, none of this added up to points on the WTA Tour as Mirza slipped down the ladder. A run of poor results at the beginning of the season and a first round loss at Wimbledon sent  Mirza tumbling to world No.132. She had some success towards the end of the year – coming through three qualifying rounds to reach the US Open main draw, where she then made the second round. But her season finished on a low when she missed out on Commonwealth Games Gold after losing to Anastasia Rodionova in front of an expectant home crowd in Delhi.

7. Sabine Lisicki
Ranking slide: 23rd to 179th

The German was touted for great things following her breakthrough season in 2009, but she got off to a slow start – losing to Alberta Brianti in the second round of the Australian Open and struggling for form on the hard courts. A large majority of her success last season came on clay and grass, and so she was expected to sparkle on those surfaces again. Sadly, an ankle injury forced her to miss the majority of the clay and grass stretch, including both the French Open and Wimbledon. In August, Lisicki struggled to make her comeback as poor results persisted, causing her to first drop outside the top 100, and eventually the top 150.

6. Katie O’Brien
Ranking slide: 88th to 180th

The Brit began with optimism after a career-best year in 2009 saw her enter a Grand Slam as a top 100 player for the first time. O’Brien made the second round of the Australian Open and saw her ranking rise to a career-high No.84. She looked to kick on from there but instead slipped back to world No.130, just missing out on automatic entry to Wimbledon. Though she secured a wildcard, O’Brien couldn’t take advantage, losing to Alona Bondarenko in three sets. Two runner-up finishes in Woking and Vigo, Spain were the highlights as results failed to come her way. To add to her woes, O’Brien was dropped from the LTA’s elite funding list last week.

5. Ioana Raluca Olaru
Ranking slide: 73rd to 182nd

The Romanian looked to build on a positive 2009, but despite her solid start, her results soon slumped and she had fallen outside of the top 100 by the time Wimbledon rolled around. Disappointing results continued as she failed to defend the points she won from reaching the final of Bad Gastein the previous year. Olaru did stop the rot as the season drew to a close, making a semi-final appearance in Napoli to keep her ranking inside the world’s top 200.

4. Urszula Radwanska
Ranking slide: 66th to 191st

After a significant rise up the rankings in 2009, the Pole was one of the young guns looking to make an assault on the top 20 this season, but it wasn’t to be. First she faced the daunting task of tackling defending champ Serena Williams in the opening round of the Aussie Open, which the eventual champion won at a canter – and then an injury to her lower back forced her out for six months. On her return, she suffered further losses to drop as low as No.339. Radwanska dug deep to pull out two great results at the end of the season, firstly making the semis in Saint Rafael and then winning the title in Ismaning, Germany to leap back inside the top 200.

3. Julie Coin
Ranking slide: 75th to 212th 

This season turned out to be a huge step back for the 28-year-old, who had made such big strides to establish herself as a top 100 player in 2009. She suffered first round exits at all four of the Grand Slams, and while the Tokyo tournament again proved to be the highlight of her year – she made the 2009 final – she only made the quarters this time out. Her ranking took another hit at the end of the year after she could make only the second round in Pontiers having made the quarters at the event 12 months previously.

2. Melinda Czink
Ranking slide: 38th to 311th

Began her season in style, reaching the quarters in Brisbane where she was denied a semi-final spot by the returning Justine Henin. Her solid form slipped from her grasp as she went on a five-match losing streak before finally reaching the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in March. It was a rare victory and she followed that by making an incredible nine successive first round exits. Shortly after Wimbledon, Czink was then hit by a left shoulder injury, which forced her out for the rest of the season.

1. Viktoriya Kutuzova
Ranking slide: 87th to 441th

The Ukrainian kicked off the year with three defeats on the trot – having held a one-set advantage in all three – most notably surrendering her lead to Daniela Hantuchova in the opening round of the Australian Open. Kutuzova did manage to hit back with a semi-final appearance in a $50,000 event in Germany, and followed that by coming through qualifying to make the main draw in Indian Wells. But she picked up an injury – in Miami, where she failed to make the main draw – that brought her season to an abrupt end as her ranking well and truly plummeted.

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