By Nick Georgandis
The three-set victory by Serena Williams over Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 U.S. Open women's final today put Serena, ranked No. 4 in the world, to within 395 points of new No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska and within 535 points of No. 2 Maria Sharapova as the women's tour enters its fall wind-up.
US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka remains No. 1, with a 1,830-point lead over Sharapova.
As expected, the final Grand Slam of the year wrought major changes on the women's top 10, with semifinalist Sara Errani climbing from 10th to seventh, while 2011 champion Samantha Stosur dropped from seventh to ninth. It's the lowest Stosur's been ranked since April of 2010.
First-round knockout Caroline Wozniacki fell out of the Top 10 completely, dropping to 11th from ninth. After three straight years with 60-plus wins, Wozniacki is just 32-18 in 2012, and reached only one Grand Slam quarterfinal this season.
Wozniacki was ranked No. 1 in the world as recently as January 16 of this year, and was last outside the Top 10 on May 9, 2009.
Outside the Top 10, surprising quarterfinalist Roberta Vinci moved up four spots to No. 15 in the world, her new career high. Vinci, who will turn 30 in February, has won 13 of her last 16 matches, and is the second-oldest player in the Top 20.
The third-oldest is Kim Clijsters, who marked her retirement from the sport with a second-round loss to Great Britan's Laura Robson, but still moved up five spots and finishes her last season with a 20-6 record.
(Photo Credit: Andy Kentla)