MONTREAL -- The last time the ladies were in Montreal in 2008, the top of the women's tennis pyramid looked a whole lot different.
Ana Ivanovic was No. 1, but the top spot was up for grabs: Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova all had a shot at it. Once the Rogers Cup was over, Jankovic was the new No. 1. Last year, in Toronto, Dinara Safina was No. 1.
All that congestion at the top has dissipated -- Serena Williams has seemingly claimed exclusive ownership of that top spot.
Ivanovic fell out of the top 50 (but is back in). Safina will tumble out of the top 50 when the new rankings are released this morning.
Maria Sharapova and Kuznetsova were No. 3 and No. 4 in 2008; this year, they're No. 15 and No. 14, respectively. Anna Chakvetadze was No. 8 in the world -- then fell off the charts. She's not even in Montreal.
Patty Schnyder of Switzerland was the No. 9 seed in 2008; this year, she played the qualifying, and made the main draw as a lucky loser only because a spot became available after Venus Williams's last-minute withdrawal.
With both Williams absent, this year's Rogers Cup is wide open. That's especially true because two of the favourites, Kim Clijsters and Sharapova, will arrive late after a marathon, rain-delayed, three-set final in Cincinnati Sunday evening. Clijsters won it, her third title of the season. Sharapova had her left ankle treated early in the third set.
"I've been No. 1 two years ago, and finished 2008 as the No. 1 player in the world. I have achieved that, a dream come true for me," said Jankovic, who is the top seed this week and is ranked No. 2 -- just as she was two years ago. "In this moment I'm not thinking about that. Playing my tennis, working hard and improving, and doing well in the big events, that is my goal.
"I just came back from an ankle injury, so I really don't have high expectations of myself," Jankovic added. "I just want to go on the court and play the best that I can, and hopefully get as many matches as possible."
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was the No. 14 seed in Montreal in 2008, and lost in the first round to Tamira Paszek of Austria. This time around, the 30-year-old Italian is seeded No. 6, and finds herself in a tough quarter of the draw with Safina, Sharapova, the hard-hitting Alisa Kleybanova, and No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
-- Postmedia News