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Ladies battle for #1 in New York

Serena Williams U.S. Open 2008September 1, 2008 – Tonight may be the night that Blair and Serena return to the small screen but there’s another epic battle taking place at the end of this holiday weekend that is equally dramatic.

For the first time in a long while, the top spot in the tennis world is within reach of more women players than ever. Of course, the stunning upset of the top seed Ana Ivanovic earlier this week has something to do with it, and there is even one strange scenario in which she could still end up holding on to her top ranking after the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic lead the fab four-woman assault on the world number one ranking, a fight that could come down to Saturday night’s Grand Slam title showdown.

Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva, each hoping to become the second Russian woman to take the top spot after Maria Sharapova’s groundbreaking run in 2005, are also in the hunt to replace already ousted Serbian Ana Ivanovic at the top.

U.S. fourth seed Williams, who dropped the Wimbledon final to sister Venus in July, and Serbian second seed Jankovic, who held the top spot for a week last month, can each take over as number one by advancing to the semi-finals.

Safina, the youngest in the hunt at 22, or Dementieva would need to reach Saturday’s final to unseat Ivanovic but either could face a championship showdown for the top spot.

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, however, will have to face her sister Venus in an all-Williams quarter-final for the chance to grab the top spot and that challenge has never been easy for her.

If Serena faces Jankovic or Dementieva in the final, the match would decide which would take over the top ranking.

Safina, who meets German qualifier Anna-Lena Groenefeld on Monday, would need to win the crown and have Jankovic not to reach the final to be number one. A title would make Dementieva number one no matter how anyone else fares.

For Jankovic, bouncing back from an injury-hampered season and having a chance at her first Grand Slam crown are top priorities she counts upon to push her to the top.

If this all isn’t confusing enough there is one scenario where Ana Ivanovic, amazingly enough, could still remain number one. If Jankovic and Serena lose in the quarters, and Dementieva and Safina lose before the final day, poof…a miracle for Ivanovic!

With so many great players vying for top spot,  watching these women battle it out will be almost as dramatic as tonight’s season opener of “Gossip Girl”.  The level of intensity should increase as will the quality of the matches. Bring it on, ladies!

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