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Wednesday, November 5, 2003
WTA Championship players at a glance

SportsTicker

LOS ANGELES -- Players according to seed in the season-ending WTA Championships:

No. 1 Kim Clijsters, Belgium
Kim Clijsters Will try to hold on to her No. 1 ranking and finish the year on top for the first time in her career; earned top world ranking on August 11, the 12th player to gain that honor and first Belgian since the inception of computer rankings in 1975; she is the first to rise to No. 1 without any Grand Slam titles, ending Serena Williams' 57-week reign atop the rankings; earlier in August, she took over No. 1 spot in the doubles ranking for one week and is only the fifth woman to hold the No. 1 singles and doubles rankings during her career, joining Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport; lost her ranking to Justine Henin-Hardenne in October but regained it when Henin-Hardenne chose to not defend a title; tied with Henin-Hardenne for the WTA Tour lead in titles with eight; has advanced to the semifinals in 19 of 20 tournaments this year, including all four Grand Slams; was routed in the Roland Garros and U.S. Open championship matches; surpassed $3 million in season earnings on Oct. 27, becoming only the fifth woman to earn more than $3 million in a single season; dropped 14 games en route to the WTA Tour Championships title, tying the tournament record for fewest games conceded; was the second player to defeat both Williams sisters in the last two rounds of a tournament and only the fourth ever to beat both in the same event; also was the first player in event history to defeat three top-five players in the tournament.

No. 2 Justine Henin, Belgium
Justine Henin Won two Grand Slams and claimed the No. 1 ranking briefly in October; captured her first career major at the French Open; ended Serena Williams' bid for fifth straight Grand Slam title with a win in the semifinals; became the first Belgian to win a Grand Slam crown; won the U.S. Open over Kim Clijsters after being two points away from defeat in the semifinals 10 times against Jennifer Capriati; is tied with Clijsters for the WTA Tour lead in titles with eight; also owned a 22-match winning streak -- going from the semifinals at Wimbledon to the final at Leipzig in late September without a loss; surpassed $3 million in season earnings on September 29 to become the fourth woman to earn at least that total in a single season; became the No. 1 player for the first time in her career by winning the Zurich title in October, becoming the 13th woman to hold the top spot in the history of the rankings; has not lost before the quarterfinals in 17 tournaments this year; qualified for the WTA Tour Championships twice, reaching the quarterfinals both times.

No. 3 Jennifer Capriati, United States
Jennifer Capriati Brings a three-match losing streak into Los Angeles; Broke out of a title drought of a year and a half with her triumph at New Haven in August -- her first tournament victory since the 2002 Australian Open; struggled early in the season due to offseason surgery to remove sun spots on both eyes; was runner-up at Miami in April and Stanford in July; also reached semifinals at Dubai, Indian Wells, Amelia Island, Berlin and Eastbourne and the U.S. Open; in New York, was two points from winning the match 10 times, serving for the match twice before losing to eventual champion Justine Henin-Hardenne; qualified for the season-ending event for the eighth time in her career, but advanced past the quarterfinals just once when she reached the semifinals; first contested the championships in 1990 as the youngest player to qualify at 14 years, eight months; her next match win will be the 400th of her career.

4. Amelie Mauresmo, France
Amelie Mauresmo Dealt with her usual amount of injuries this year but still managed to win two titles and stay among the top 10 for most of the year; missed the first month of the season with right knee cartilage inflammation that kept her off the court for nearly four months; returned for Paris and advanced to the final; missed more time with an acute throat infection but won her first title of the year in Warsaw in March; was runner-up at the Italian Open before losing in the quarterfinals at the French Open; missed Wimbledon due to a rib muscle injury, returned to action in August at the Canadian Open and lost in the quarterfinals; advanced to the semifinals at New Haven later that month; appeared in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the final at Moscow in September; after a quarterfinal finish at Filderstadt in October, added her second title of the year at Philadelphia last week.

No. 5 Anastasia Myskina, Russia
Anastasia Myskina Won a career-high four titles in 2003; captured her first tournament of the season at Doha in February, cracking the world top-10 rankings for the first time at No. 10; added another title at Sarasota in May and captured consecutive crowns in September; upset Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne in the last two rounds at Leipzig to become the 22nd woman in WTA ranking history (and the first in 25 years at a European event) to eliminate the world's top two ranked players in the same tournament; claimed her first Tier I title by dropping 15 games in four matches -- the lowest number of games conceded in route to a WTA Tour singles title in 2003 -- in Kremlin Cup in Moscow; became the first Russian to win in Moscow; also had her best season in the Grand Slams, reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian and U.S. Opens; made her season-ending tournament debut last year with a first-round loss.

No. 6 Elena Dementieva, Russia
Maggie Maleeva Captured the first three titles of her career and reached a personal-best ranking of No. 8 in mid-October; won at Amelia Island in April, defeating four seeds en route to the crown, including world No. 4 Justine Henin-Hardenne in the semifinals and world No. 6 Lindsay Davenport in the final; claimed consecutive titles in September, triumphing in Bali and at Shanghai, but withdrew from two of her last three tournaments with an illness; other highlights this season include semifinals at Toronto, New Haven and Moscow; lost in the first round at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open; earned a trip to the WTA Tour Championships for the fourth time; lost in the first round the last two years after appearing in the semifinals in her debut in 2000.

No. 7 Chanda Rubin, United States
Chanda Rubin Capture two titles for the second year in a row; started the year off with a quarterfinal showing at Sydney and a four-round finish at the Australian Open; in March, appeared in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, returning to the top 10 for the first time since Oct. 6, 1996; backed that ranking up with a semifinal at Miami in April; triumphed on clay at Madrid in May and reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros; saved to match points in the semifinals at Eastbourne in June and went on to successfully her title, a career-first; lost in the third round at Wimbledon; after a first-round loss at the U.S. Open, went on to appear in consecutive finals in September at Bali and Shanghai - losing to Elena Dementieva in both matches; reached the quarterfinals at Philadelphia last week; qualified for the season-ending championships for the fourth time when Venus Williams withdrew with an injury; lost in the first round in her three prior appearances.

8. Ai Sugiyama, Japan
Ai Sugiyama Qualified for the WTA Tour Championships for the first time after making it in doubles four times; won two titles -- her first since 1998; reached the fourth round at the French Open to advance past the third round at a Grand Slam since making the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2002; matched that result at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open; struggled this year until Scottsdale in March, when she claimed her fourth career singles title -- her first at a Tier II event -- over Kim Clijsters; later reached the semifinals at Rome; advanced to the semifinals at Los Angeles in July and at Shanghai in September; surpassed $4 million in career prize money at Shanghai; added her second title of the year at Linz -- her first career crown at an indoor event; paired with Clijsters to win the French Open and Wimbledon women's doubles crowns; has lost in the second round at the U.S. Open the last three years and seven of the last eight appearances.