In a year dominated by the "A" team of Serena, Vika, and Maria, Germany's Angelique Kerber has quietly had one doozy of a season.
Although she has been inactive throughout October, she still moved up to a career-best No. 5 in the latest WTA rankings released Monday, passing Petra Kvitova.
The 24-year-old Kerber has wins at Paris and Copenhagen and was plenty impressive at a lion's share of the major tournaments this season -- reaching the semifinals at Indian Wells, Rome, Wimbledon, and Tokyo, and the quarterfinals at the French Open and the Summer Olympics. Finishing the top 10 is a major jump from the end of 2011, when she finished 32nd. A second move in the Top 10 saw Sara Errani leapfrog Li Na for seventh, something that has been going back and forth for much of the season.
Just outside the Top 20, the story was Venus Williams, who returned from a six-week hiatus to win at Luxembourg, defeating Monica Niculescu in the final. It's Venus' first tournament victory since Dubai in 2010 and catapulted her 17 spots to No. 24 from 41st. Despite all of her trials and injuries in 2012, Williams has put together a 24-9 record in singles.
Heading in the exact opposite way was Sabine Lisicki, the German prodigy, who dropped 13 spots to No. 37. Lisicki lost in the first round of Luxembourg to No. 58 Kirsten Flipkens.
But even Lisicki's plunge is nothing next to the fate of former World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, who sunk like a stone, nosediving 45 spots to No. 94 from No. 49.
Zvonareva has not played since the Olympics, dropping out of the US Open because of a viral infection.
In a light week on the ATP circuit, the Top 20 was completely unchanged, with the most dramatic move coming by virtual unknown Grega Zemlja of Slovakia, who lept 20 places to No. 50 after reaching the final at Vienna last weekend.
Zemjla upset No. 20 Tommy Haas and No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic to reach the final.