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Ana drops five places in the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking list of 2006, which is published tomorrow. The fall is primarily due to the abolition of Quality Points, the bonuses awarded for beating highly ranked players.
Quality Points earned over the past 12 months have been removed from each player’s points total in the year’s first ranking list, which hurts Ana’s ranking more than most players because she accrued so many Quality Points during 2005. Ana earned a total of 639 Quality Points last year, thanks largely to stunning wins over three top 10-ranked players – Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Amelie Mauresmo.
To put it in perspective, Ana earned 132 Quality Points for beating Mauresmo at last year’s French Open, which is more than she earned for winning the Canberra title – she picked up 95 points for winning that tier IV tournament.
Ana’s haul of 639 Quality Points equated to 41 per cent of her overall total and compared unfavourably with those immediately below her in the 2005 season-end rankings, hence the slip of five positions: Svetlana Kuznetsova, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Likhovtseva and Dinara Safina all leapfrog Ana simply due to the removal of Quality Points, while Flavia Penetta is also aided by her appearance in the final of the Gold Cost tournament.
Other players to suffer from this change in the ranking system include Justine Henin-Hardenne, who slips from No.6 to No.8, and Elena Dementieva, who drops one position to No.9. The main beneficiary inside the top 10 is Nadia Petrova, who rises from No.9 to a career best No.6.
By Gavin Versi