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Li to No. 3 in rankings after Australian Open win

Jan. 27, 2014 at 6:31 AM   |   Comments

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Li Na returned to the world No. 3 ranking Monday after winning the Australian Open and quarterfinalist Simona Halep made the Top 10 for the first time.

Li defeated Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 in Saturday's women's singles final in Melbourne. It was the second Grand Slam title for Li, who won the French Open in 2011. She's been an Australian Open finalist three of the last four years.

The champion's points for the major tournament win boosted Li from No. 4 to third in the rankings as of Monday. Agnieszka Radwanska, who lost to Cibulkova in the semifinals, moved up one place to No. 4. Maria Sharapova, a fourth-round loser in Melbourne, dropped from third to fifth.

The only other change in the Top 10 after the year's first major tournament found Halep displacing Caroline Wozniacki for the No. 10 spot, with Wozniacki slipping to 11th.

That marks a career high for Halep, who hadn't won a WTA tournament before last June 15 but has six championships, a fourth-round showing at the 2013 U.S. Open and a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open since. She's moved from 58th seven months ago to No. 10.

Cibulkova climbed from 24th to No. 13, one spot shy of her career high, and Eugenie Bouchard, the fourth semifinalist in Melbourne, jumped from 31st to a career best No. 19.

Serena Williams remains No. 1 and has nearly twice as many ranking points as No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka. Williams has been atop the rankings for 173 weeks overall, which is sixth-most all-time and five weeks short of No. 5 Monica Seles on that list. Her current string of 50 consecutive weeks at No. 1 is 14th most. She had a 57-week stretch at No. 1 previously, which is the 13th longest.

There are two WTA Tournaments this week with Sharapova heading the field at the GDF Suez Open in Paris. Four other Top 10 players, including Halep, are also in the Paris draw. No. 15-ranked Sabine Lisicki is seeded first at the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand.

The WTA Top 10, listing player's name, home country and rankings points:

1. Serena Williams, United States, 13,000

2. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, 6,581

3. Li Na, China, 6,570

4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland, 5,750

5. Maria Sharapova, Russia, 5,416

6. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic, 4,745

7. Sara Errani, Italy, 4,440

8. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia, 4,310

9. Angelique Kerber, Germany, 4,030

10. Simona Halep, Romania, 3,760

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