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Rackets by Charlie Garfinkel: Breaking down the top 10 in women’s tennis

A look at the top 10 women’s tennis players, their ranking points, their accomplishments and predicting where they will be ranked by season’s end:

1. Serena Williams: 8,330 points. USA. Age 34. Williams is unanimously recognized by tennis experts as the greatest women’s player of all time. She is the holder of 21 Grand Slam singles titles and is attempting to surpass Steffi Graf’s 22 grand slam singles titles, the most in the Open era. Williams will have a difficult time achieving this. She has lost final matches in her last three grand slam singles. If Williams doesn’t win Wimbledon in two weeks, she will never surpass Graf. Why? Williams has played erratically at times over the last 10 months and will turn 35 in September.

Prediction: Williams will be No. 1 at the end of the year unless she falters badly.

2. Garbine Muguruza: 6,766 points. Spain. Age 22. Muguruza’s victory in the final of the French Open was no fluke. Her overall play was outstanding. Her aggressive game and extremely powerful ground strokes were very effective. Standing 6-foot-0, she uses her height to hit one of the hardest serves on tour. She never wavered against the world’s No. 1 player. Without a doubt, she is the women’s player of the future.

Prediction: She will be ranked No. 2 at the end of the year, possibly No. 1 if Williams continues to falter.

3. Agnieszka Radwanska: 6,080 points. Poland. Age 27. Radwanska achieved a career-high singles ranking of No. 2 in the world in July 2012. She is known for her all-around game, consistency, and being an extremely intelligent player. She holds the distinction of being the first Polish women’s player to reach a grand slam final - Wimbledon 2012. The epitome of sportsmanship, she has been voted the WTA’s favorite singles player from 2011 to 2015.

Prediction: She will be ranked between 3-5 at the end of the year,

4. Angelique Kerber: 5,320 points. Germany. Age 28. Kerber shocked the tennis world when she upset Williams in this year’s Australian Open. Although Williams wasn’t at her best, Kerber played an extremely steady game. She has been ranked as high as No. 2 since beating Williams. However, she has been in a bit of a slump and hopes to rebound at Wimbledon this week.

Prediction: She will regain her intensity and battle Radwanska for the 3 or 4 spot at the end of the year.

5. Simona Halep: 4,372 points. Romania. Age 24. Halep’s style of play is very aggressive. Her role model is all-time great Justine Henin, winner of many grand slam singles titles. Halep is impressive with her speed afoot, shot selection and cerebral strategy. Unfortunately, she has had Achilles problems and other health issues that could limit her at Wimbledon.

Prediction: If she stays healthy, the world’s former No. 2 could move up to 3 or 4 at year’s end.

6. Victoria Azarenka: 4,191 points. Belarus. Age 26. Azarenka won Australia Open singles titles in 2012 and 2013 and was a former world No. 1. Injuries in 2014 saw her ranking plummet to 32. When she was healthy again, she reached the top five and it appeared as if she would win more grand slams. Unfortunately, injuries struck again and she will not be able to compete in Wimbledon.

Prediction: If she gets healthy soon, she will stay in her present ranking at year’s end. If not, she will drop out of the top 10.

7. Roberta Vinci: 3,405 points. Italy. Age 33. Still playing remarkable tennis. Her all-time greatest win was defeating Williams in the semifinals of the 2015 Open. Although she doesn’t hit with great power, she has a devastating slice-backhand and superlative net game that produces many problems for her opponents. She has great speed afoot and outstanding court sense.

Prediction: She will not be in the top 10 at the end of the year.

8. Belinda Bencic: 3,190 points. Switzerland. Age 19. Bencic is definitely a star on the rise. She has already defeated Williams, Halep, and Radwanska in tournament play. Her success isn’t a surprise to avid followers of tennis. She was the No. 1 junior in the world in 2013 and has continued to improve with her remarkable all-court game.

Prediction: She could move into the top five at year’s end.

9. Venus Williams: 3,116 points. USA. Age 36. She is one of the oldest competitors on the women’s tour. She is a seven-time grand slam singles champion and was ranked No. 1 in the world three times. To be ranked in the world’s top 10 at her age is a remarkable achievement. However, Williams is definitely in the twilight of her career and has suffered recent losses to players ranked considerably below her.

Prediction: Williams will be ranked between 12-15 in the world at the end of the year.

10. Madison Keys: 3,061 points. USA. Age 21. The United States phenom is definitely a star on the rise. Her ground strokes are as powerful as any player on the women’s pro tour. In 2015 she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, where she lost a close two-set match to Serena Williams. After the match, Williams remarked that she thought Keys would be the No. 1 player in the world in the near future.

Prediction: Keys should be ranked between 5-8 at the end of the year.