Li Na and Peng Shuai breaking new ground for China

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 9:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 10:04pm

Li Na moved to an Asian-record world number two and Peng Shuai was rated the top women's doubles player in a big boost for Chinese tennis in the new rankings released on Monday.

Li, who won her second grand slam title at last month's Australian Open, underlined her status as the best ever Asian women's player by rising to second behind Serena Williams.

The Wuhan native, who turns 32 later this month, had already achieved the highest ranking by an Asian woman by reaching world number three last year.

As they have done throughout their careers, both players continue to set new milestones for Chinese tennis
Stacey Allaster, WTA

She now moves to second spot with 6,690 points, still some distance behind American great Williams, the 17-time grand slam title-winner, on 12,380.

Li's continuing success is a huge plus for women's tennis, which has bet big on Asia by organising several tournaments in the region this year, including one in Hong Kong in September for which efforts are being made to attract Li, and one in Wuhan.

"As they have done throughout their careers, both players [Li and Peng] continue to set new milestones for Chinese tennis," Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief Stacey Allaster said in a statement.

"Their accomplishments are truly inspirational and the WTA is fortunate to have such ambassadors representing the sport around the world."

Li's rise in the rankings comes despite a blip at last week's Qatar Open where she was ousted in the third round by Czech unknown Petra Cetkowska.

Meanwhile, Peng, 28, became the first Chinese player to top the doubles rankings, with her Taiwanese partner Hsieh Su-wei second.

"I think this is really amazing and a great moment for me," said Peng, after she confirmed the ranking by winning the Qatar Open with Hsieh on Sunday. "This is a really special time."

In the new singles rankings, Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska lies third with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka fourth and Russian star Maria Sharapova fifth.

Czech player Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, Germany's Angelique Kerber, Romanian Simona Halep - who won the Qatar title - and Italy's Sara Errani round out the top 10.



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