Lawn Tennis, Beijing, Lawn Tennis Magazine
Serena Williams Collapses At Stuttgart, To Lose Top Ranking

By Tripp Mateschitz, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 4:45pm PST USA
Serena Williams Collapses At Stuttgart, To Lose Top Ranking, Na Li, Lawn Tennis Magazine STUTTGART--( Wednesday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the second round, Na Li of China shocked world number one Serena Williams of the USA 0-6, 6-1, 6-4. Williams will lose her top ranking Monday.

At the start of the week Williams led world number two Jelena Jankovic of Serbia by only 21 WTA Tour rankings points. With Williams' loss today, Jankovic is set to move ahead regardless of her result this week.

World number one Serena Williams | Photo by Thomas Kienzle/AP
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Stuttgart, Germany, Lawn Tennis Magazine
“I started making a lot of errors and I just gave it to her,” Williams said. “Maybe I started doubting myself.”

While Serena Williams, who won the US Open last month and reached the Wimbledon final, has performed better at the recent major tournaments than Jankovic, the WTA Tour rankings take a player's best 17 tournament results from the previous 52 weeks and add together the total points from those 17 tournaments. By competing in only 15 tournaments, Williams has two zeros added into her points total.

Jankovic, having played 22 WTA Tour tournaments in the last 52 weeks, has her worst 5 tournament results discarded by the WTA Tour Rankings computer in a quantity over quality system designed to encourage top players to compete more often.

Jankovic who rarely misses a tournament clearly benefits from this system as Monday she will return to the top spot which she held for one week during the summer, despite having never won a major tournament.

Williams at Stuttgart today raced to a 6-0 lead before once again exposing perhaps the only weakness in her otherwise breathtaking game. Long feared as one of the most mentally tough players on the tour, Williams can also allow her mind to wonder and allow her opponent back into a match. This was the case against Li and also at the Beijing Olympics in August where Williams lost to Elena Dementieva of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 after leading in both matches.

The loss to Li was not entirely unexpected however as Li possesses Monica Seles-like laser groundstrokes which routinely hit the lines and can be at times one of the most consistent players on the tour. Li also upset Williams' sister, Venus Williams at the Olympics 7-5, 7-5.

However due to several injuries in part, Li has never advanced past the quarterfinals of any major tournament, with her best result as a 2006 Wimbledon quarterfinal finish. Li, ranked 30th, also has played a limited tour schedule with only 12 tournaments and could move up about ten rankings positions with a tournament win at Stuttgart.

Williams had won her only prior meeting with Li at the 2006 Australian Open 6-3, 6-7(1-7), 6-2, but suffered a collapse today.

“I started making a lot of errors and I just gave it to her,” Williams said. “Maybe I started doubting myself.”

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