Victoria Azarenka of Belarus did not win the WTA Championships, but her semifinal berth there assured her of topping the prestigious year-ending ranking for the first time.
Azarenka has 10,595 points in Monday’s list to lead ahead of Maria Sharapova of Russia (10,045) and Serena Williams of the United States (9,400).
Azarenka is the 11th different player to top the year-ending rankings since they were introduced in 1975. She got her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and won six tournaments overall in 2012.
“It’s just been an incredible year — I’ve had my two dreams come true. To finish number one shows I’ve been playing really well throughout the whole year,” said Azarenka, who lost in the Istanbul semis against Sharapova.
“To be a part of this history is just an incredible thing. When I first started to play tennis as a little girl, becoming number one in the world seemed so far away, and now I’m standing here and holding that trophy.” Sharapova won the French Open while Williams was the most successful player as far as big titles are concerned, winning Wimbledon, the US Open, Olympic gold and the WTA Championships.
The final 2012 rankings are released next week, with French Mario Bartoli (10th) and former number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark (11th) in contention to complete the top 10.
WTA rankings as of October 29 (previous ranking in parenthesis): 1. (1) Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, 10,595 points 2. (2) Maria Sharapova, Russia, 10,045 3. (3) Serena Williams, United States, 9,400 4. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland, 7,425 5. (5) Angelique Kerber, Germany, 5,550 6. (7) Sara Errani, Italy, 5,100 7. (8) Li Na, China, 5,095 8. (6) Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic, 5,085 9. (9) Samantha Stosur, Australia, 4,135 10. (10) Marion Bartoli, France, 3,740.