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Serena stays No. 2 despite another grand slam success

EVEN with three of the last four grand slam titles in her possession, Serena Williams will stay behind Dinara Safina in WTA rankings.

The second-ranked Serena beat elder sister Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final on Saturday, adding to the US Open title she won last year and the Australian Open championship she picked up this year. But despite the stellar play in the biggest tournaments, Serena remains No. 2 in the rankings, well behind her Russian rival.

"My motivation is maybe just to win another grand slam and stay No. 2, I guess," Serena said after beating Venus 7-6 (3), 6-2 for her third Wimbledon title and 11th grand slam championship overall.

"I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three grand slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any," she said.

Safina lost to Serena in this year's Australian Open final, and then won titles in Rome and Madrid before falling in the French Open final. At Wimbledon, she was routed 1-6, 0-6 in the semifinals by third-ranked Venus - the most lopsided loss ever for a reigning No. 1-ranked player.

"I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid," Serena said before rolling her eyes and then laughing.

Besides her three major titles over the last year, Serena also reached the quarterfinals at the French Open. But she lost to eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. In that final at Roland Garros, Safina lost for the third time in three major finals.

WTA ranking

Players gets points toward their WTA ranking by winning tour-level matches. Players that go far in many tournaments tend to rise higher in the rankings than those that play in fewer events.

Both Williams sisters spent time at No. 1, each first reaching that height in 2002, but they dropped down the rankings after reducing the amount of tournaments they play. Serena served time as the top-ranked player again last year and for a few weeks this year.

"For several years now, at least three or four years, I just really wanted to focus on tennis, and I've really been doing that. I feel like this is where I want to be, and this is my chance to capitalize on everything," Serena said. "I really enjoy it. I even started playing more doubles because I enjoy being out on the court so much. I think it's pretty much all paying off."

Safina defended the ranking system. "Well, I've been in last four grand slams, I reach at least semifinal," Safina said. "I mean, they haven't been in the semifinal of the French Open. I think this is the result of how you play the whole year. It's not about one, two tournaments how you play. It's a result of tournament by tournament, day to day that you play. I think this is the end result."


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