Who will stay at the top?

Nicole Rogers

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Serna Williams has reclaimed her status as a force to be reckoned with in women tennis, when she beat Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals of the Qatar Open in Doha to become world number one. Serena is no stranger to being the best player in the world with this her fourth stint as number one at the age of 31.

She now holds the record as the oldest number one ranked player in the history of the women’s game. The 15 times Gland Slam Champion has never been one to be wrote off, but she struggled with illness and injuries which caused her to play for the entire season in 2011 and even slipping as low 175 in rankings.

She fought back to show the true champion she is to take the number one spot from 23 year old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. Williams suffered a severe cut on her foot on grass during 2010 and was lucky to survive surgery in 2011 suffering from a haematoma and a pulmonary embolism.

Williams has always been a fighter and she showed this fighting spirit by winning her way back to number one, because of her injuries and the fact of her age there were various whispers among the circuit and the media of retirement not unlike the talk of Roger Federer retiring. Williams silenced her doubters by winning Wimbledon, the US Open taking gold at the Olympics. She’s won seven titles in the last year and her current form is showing no signs of her slowing down.

The American star was emotional after the match saying ““I’m so sensitive nowadays, I’m always crying! I’ve just been through so much and never thought I’d be here again… there were often times that I never thought I’d play again. Then I thought I’d never be able to win tournaments or Grand Slams. It was always a dream, but I was No. 1 when tragedy struck, and it was just an awful thing to happen. So I’m happy that I’m back.””

It was a tough match against the Czech hero Kvitova, Williams had to bounce back after a first set loss and push through to the very end taking the match 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Williams only had to reach the semi finals to become the world number one, although she beat Maria Sharapova in the semi’s her rein was soon to end in the final.

Azarenka the demoted number one made sure to make Williams know she has a fight on her hands to stay at the top beating her 7-6, 2-6, 6-3. This was Azarenka’s first time in 10 consecutive meeting Azarenka has put a stop to Williams. She said she felt the pressure of this encounter and when asked how this match differed to the last nine she said “I just did everything better today”.

This should be an exciting year full of rivalry from these two fierce competitors Azarenka is currently on 14-0 match streak to begin the season. Last year she went 26 match’s unbeaten until she lost at Miami in the quarter finals which was notably the best start to a season since Martina Hingis went on a 37 match streak back in 1997.

Who do you think will have the edge in the rivalry between Williams and Azarenka this year?

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Nicole Rogers