Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark will finish the tennis season as the top-ranked player in the world after she advanced to the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Doha.
“2010 has been the most amazing year in my career,” Wozniacki said in an e-mailed WTA statement. “Capturing the year-end world No.1 ranking is a huge accomplishment for me and I am thrilled that all the hard work has paid off.”
The 20-year-old, who made her first major final last year at the U.S. Open, has yet to win a major. Her best performance this season at the four Grand Slam events was a semifinal place at the U.S. Open. Wozniacki is only the 10th player to end the season as the best female tennis player since the WTA ranking system was introduced in 1975. The first player from Denmark to hold the top spot, she has won a tour-leading six titles this season.
Wozniacki, who yesterday qualified for the semifinals of the year-end WTA Championships by beating French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy in a group match, plays Australia’s Samantha Stosur tomorrow for a place in the finals. Russia’s Vera Zvonareva faces U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium in today’s semifinal in Doha.
Wozniacki had taken over the top spot from an injured Serena Williams at the start of this month. Williams, this season’s Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, hasn’t played on the tour since hurting her foot after clinching her 13th major title at the All England Club in July. The American has dropped to No. 3 in the rankings. Zvonareva, a runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open this year, is ranked No. 2.
Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis are the only three other players younger than Wozniacki to have finished the year as No. 1.
Former Olympic champion Elena Dementieva, who lost two Grand Slam finals, retired today at the age of 29. The Russian was ranked 9th in the world, and last year reached a career-high of No. 3.