Serena becomes oldest woman player at number one

DOHA Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:03am IST

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during their women's quarter-final match at the Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

Serena Williams of the U.S. hits a return to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during their women's quarter-final match at the Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha February 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

Related Topics

DOHA (Reuters) - Serena Williams showed tennis was not just the domain of teenagers as she climbed back to the top of the world rankings on Friday, becoming the oldest female to hold the coveted position at the age of 31.

The American is world number one for the sixth time in her storied career after finishing off former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-3 7-5 with a thumping ace in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open.

Williams will meet Russian Maria Sharapova, who had also been in hot pursuit of the number one ranking this week, in a lip-smacking semi-final on Saturday.

"I'm so sensitive nowadays, I'm always crying! I've just been through so much and never thought I'd be here again," Williams, who recovered from 4-1 down in the third set, told the crowd as she fought back tears.

At 31 years, four months and 24 days, she will be the oldest woman in the top spot since computer rankings began in 1975. Williams eclipses fellow American Chris Evert, who was 30 years, 11 months and three days when she last held the ranking in 1985.

Since then teenagers like Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Sharapova have often been world number one but, more than a decade after first claiming top spot, 15-times grand slam champion Williams showed she still hungers for success.

It was little wonder the second seed was so emotional after all the injuries, illnesses and surgery she has endured since last relinquishing the number one spot in October 2010.

While Williams relishes the prospect of beginning her 124th non-consecutive week as the world's best female player when the new rankings are officially unveiled on Monday, Sharapova must take consolation from continuing to progress at the Qatar Open.

The Russian brushed aside Australia's Samantha Stosur 6-2 6-4 on Friday having not dropped a set in her three matches, a feat equalled by outgoing world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who saw off Italian Sara Errani 6-2 6-2.

Third seed Sharapova, who held an 11-2 career record over Stosur going into the match, was never threatened in her 82-minute victory.

Top seed Azarenka will face Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals after the fourth seed overcame former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2 7-5 in the late match. (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar and Martyn Herman in London, editing by Tony Jimenez and Ken Ferris)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Reliance Q4 sales rise, refining margin narrows.  Read 

Innovative Solution

Innovative Solution

Turning smog into jewels - a Dutch designer's solution to Beijing's pollution.  Video 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges.  Full Article 

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's languid hometown.  Full Article 

S&P on India

S&P on India

S&P: India's ratings to depend on next govt econ, fiscal policies.  Full Article 

Ambitious Aim

Ambitious Aim

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Bond Market

Bond Market

A star abroad, RBI boss riles bond traders at home  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage