Nadal headlines Slam Power Rankings
The Grand Slams are done for 2010. For the second year in a row, the last major final was outstanding.
We present a special edition of the Power Rankings, focusing solely on the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.
1. Rafael Nadal: Did anyone think Rafael Nadal could turn it around like this after his knee woes resurfaced in the Australian Open quarterfinals? Heck no. But he did. Nadal's French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open trifecta gave him one of the best seasons in tennis history.
2. Serena Williams: So we finally know what happened to Serena Williams' foot. Williams was once again the most dominant women's player at the majors, triumphing at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Had she played in New York, it probably would have been three Grand Slam titles.
3. Roger Federer: Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Federer was eliminated in the quarters at the French -- out went one of the most impressive streaks in tennis history -- and Wimbledon, then fell in the U.S. Open semis. He did, however, begin with a major Down Under. He's pumped to improve in 2011.
4. Novak Djokovic: Djokovic had disappointing finishes at the Australian Open (stomach issues), French Open (blew a two-set lead) and Wimbledon (passive in the semis). He partially made up for it at the U.S. Open, showing plenty of guts in the semis against Federer and putting up a great fight in the final. We hope he's back.
5. Robin Soderling: Perhaps Soderling didn't progress as much as some (OK, me) expected. It looked as if he had a shot at beating Nadal at Wimbledon, and he failed to win the big points against Federer at the U.S. Open. Still, he advanced to a second straight French Open final.
6. Kim Clijsters: Clijsters felt the pressure at the Australian Open, and the result was a horrific loss to highly unpredictable Nadia Petrova. Things weren't much better at Wimbledon. Old faithful, the U.S. Open, brought Clijsters the ultimate joy two years running, however.
7. Tomas Berdych: Berdych was on course for another disappointing campaign, falling in the second round at the Australian Open. Berdych then performed the way we all know he can, turning it up at the French Open and reaching a maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. The Czech got a tricky draw in New York.
8. Andy Murray: Oh, Andy Murray. Murray flattered to deceive, not for the first time. After playing one of the best matches of his career against Nadal at the Australian Open, Murray reverted to defense against Federer in the final. He never really recovered -- despite a semifinal showing under the Wimbledon pressure cooker.
9. Vera Zvonareva: Making a Grand Slam final, at Wimbledon, was a surprise. When Zvonareva backed it up at the U.S. Open, we knew it wasn't a fluke. Zvonareva went a long way toward conquering her emotions, although we suspect flare-ups aren't completely gone.
10. Francesca Schiavone: Schiavone was this year's Grand Slam revelation. Known as a counterpuncher before her breakthrough at the French Open, the feisty Italian exhibited a lovely, all-court game in Paris. After a predictable dip, Schiavone thankfully went out on a high in New York, contesting a highly entertaining encounter versus Venus Williams.
11. Samantha Stosur: In Paris, Stosur reached her first Grand Slam final, and she was picked by most to get past Schiavone after knocking off three former or current No. 1s in Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic. The serve and forehand, when on, are lethal. Stosur also performed well in Melbourne and New York.
12. Justine Henin: More was expected from Henin in her comeback. And it appeared promising in Melbourne, when the Belgian got to the final. But, favored in Paris, she blew a lead to Stosur. An elbow injury at Wimbledon ended her season. Here's hoping she'll be motivated to return in 2011.
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: If Tsonga had volleyed that ball against Murray in the second-set tiebreak of their Wimbledon quarterfinal, he probably would have reached two Grand Slam semis. Tsonga showed ample guts in Melbourne before getting pasted by Fed.
14. Venus Williams: A case of what might have been for Venus Williams, especially at the U.S. Open. Williams succumbed to nerves against Clijsters in the semis, and she blew it against Li Na in Melbourne. Where did that loss to Tzvetana Pironkova at Wimbledon come from?
15. Caroline Wozniacki: Wozniacki underperformed, considering her ranking, achieving a semifinal, a quarterfinal and two fourth rounds. She was outgunned by Li and Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, respectively. Schiavone, more versatile, downed her in Paris. Zvonareva applied the knockout blow in New York. More work needed.
16. Mikhail Youzhny: Youzhny getting to the deep end of Slams is good for tennis. He's so nice to watch. Youzhny took advantage of a nice draw to reach the French Open quarterfinals and U.S. Open semifinals. Unluckily for the Russian, a wrist injury at the Australian Open prevented him from another extended run in Melbourne, where he beat Richard Gasquet in one of the most epic matches of the year.
17. Li Na: A healthy Li meant a pretty good Li. Li, who played in all four majors for the first time since 2006, knocked off three seeds en route to the Australian Open semis. Once there, the monster-hitting Chinese baseliner pushed Serena to two tiebreaks. Serena also was her conqueror in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
18. Jurgen Melzer: This is the year Melzer, the gifted Austrian lefty, awoke. Melzer's recovery against Djokovic in Paris was totally against the norm -- he so often had crumbled against the elite. Melzer lived up to his seeding at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, a little unlucky not to take a set against Federer in N.Y.
19. Elena Dementieva: The Heartbreak Kid. Dementieva lost nail-biters to Henin at the Australian Open and Stosur at the U.S. Open. Same old story. In Paris, a calf muscle forced the Russian to retire in the semifinals. One of the best players who'll never win a Slam.
20. Fernando Verdasco: Here's hoping Verdasco learned a few things at the U.S. Open, where he found himself in the quarters. He has to go for the first serve and rip from the baseline, not spin the serve in and linger behind the baseline, content to grind past foes using his superior fitness. That Wimbledon loss to Fabio Fognini, a clay-court specialist if ever there was one, was ugly.
Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.
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