serena: good to be back

BEIJING - Serena Williams was in no doubt as to who deserved to top the women's tennis rankings after wresting the No 1 spot back from Dinara Safina at the China Open yesterday.

BEIJING - Serena Williams was in no doubt as to who deserved to top the women's tennis rankings after wresting the No 1 spot back from Dinara Safina at the China Open yesterday.

The American had made no secret of her incredulity that Safina, without a Grand Slam title to her name, should hold the top spot ahead of the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion.

The Russian's loss to the 226th-ranked Chinese wild card Zhang Shuai on Monday evening left Serena with the straightforward task of beating world No 55 Ekaterina Makarova, which she did with ease.

"I think I've earned it," the 28-year-old told reporters after her 6-3 6-2 victory.

"I won two Grand Slams and I should have got more. But you know what, I'm just excited to have those two, which is great.

"I just played consistent for all the year. I felt like especially the beginning of the year I did well. I was bothered a little bit by injury but I kept fighting. I kept showing up and doing the best I could do. Sometimes there were unfortunate losses, but I really tried. And I think at the end of the day that's what matters."

Serena has made frequent jokes about what she thought was the unfairness of the ranking system, most notably after her Wimbledon triumph.

"I definitely feel better," she said. "I'd be lying if I sat here and said I didn't.

Meanwhile, China Open defending champions Andy Roddick and Jelena Jankovic were both upset in their opening matches yesterday, missing key opportunities to gain points towards their year-end tour championships.

Roddick, the third seed, stumbled out in straight sets to Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot, 6-2 6-4, while China's Peng Shuai defeated eighth seed Jankovic 4-6 7-5 6-2. - Reuters and Sapa-AFP

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