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Monday, September 7, 2009
Williams can take over No. 1 ranking

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- It turns out Serena Williams can move up to No. 1 in the WTA rankings, as long as she makes it to the U.S. Open final. She would just have to wait until a week after the tournament ends.

There has been much debate and discussion in recent months about why Williams is No. 2 and Dinara Safina is No. 1. The American has won three of the past four Grand Slam tournaments to raise her career total to 11, while the Russian is still seeking her first major title.

After Safina was upset in the third round at the U.S. Open, she was assured of retaining the top spot when the new rankings are issued Sept. 14, the day after the U.S. Open concludes -- no matter how Williams fares the rest of the way. Williams plays in the quarterfinals Tuesday night.

But the WTA said Monday that because of the rankings' rolling 52-week system, the points Williams would defend by winning the year's last major tournament -- or losing in the final -- would be enough to push her past Safina in the Sept. 21 rankings.

What's far easier to understand is this: There is no plan to revamp the way the women's tennis rankings are calculated any time soon.

"Rankings are so sacrosanct. Any change to it really needs extensive reading. But we don't see any major overhaul," the WTA's new CEO, Stacey Allaster, said Monday.

"We need to run the data and look at the data with a few years under our belt before we make any wholesale changes to it," Allaster said.

She said the ranking system serves as a tool to encourage players to participate in and take seriously non-Grand Slam tournaments.