DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Victoria Azarenka has ridden the Australian Open championship to the world No. 1 ranking in women's tennis.
Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 Saturday in winning her first Grand Slam title. That, combined with previous No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki's quarterfinal loss in Melbourne, allowed Azarenka to become the 21st woman to reach the top spot since the WTA initiated its ratings system in November 1975.
Azarenka has 8,585 ratings points while Petra Kvitova, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, remains No. 2 with 7,690. Sharapova, moving from fourth to third, has 7,560 and Wozniacki, now fourth, has 7,085.
Samantha Stosur, who was ousted in the first round in Melbourne, keeps the No. 5 place with 5,430 points while Agnieszka Radwanska, who lost to Azarenka in the quarterfinals, improves from eighth to a career-best No. 6 ranking with 5,330.
Marion Bartoli (4,770) points, is up two places to seventh -- also a personal best -- not far ahead of eighth-ranked Vera Zvonareva. Li Na, the 2011 Australian Open runner-up slides from sixth to ninth with 4,450 points and Andrea Petkovic, with 4,000 points, remains No. 10.
Kim Clijsters, who won the Australian Open in 2011 and was a semifinalist this year, drops from 14th to No. 30 in the rankings. Williams remains at the No. 12 spot. Her sister Venus Williams, who missed the Australian Open due to injury, has fallen to No. 133 in the rankings.