Sharapova's progress to the final of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open this week has led to another reshuffle in the race for the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings, with the Russian overtaking Azarenka and moving up to second place.
Vika was forced to withdraw ahead of a quarter-final meeting with Caroline Wozniacki in California this week, and the lost ranking points handed Sharapova an opportunity.
Sharapova managed to work her way into the Indian Wells final by recording a 6-4 6-3 win over compatriot Maria Kirilenko on Friday night.
It’s easy to get the impression that Sharapova is only really interested in being No. 1.
"Am I?" was her response upon learning that she’d moved up the charts.
"That's great - yeah, it's nice. It's better than No.3, right?"
With Sharapova resurgent, the WTA can only benefit. Some critics had slated women’s tennis for lacking the rivalry at the very top of the game that the ATP can boast with its ‘big four’. In response, it’s reasonable to assert that Sharapova, Azarenka and Serena Williams provide tennis fans with an incredible top three right now, and their race to finish the year as the No. 1 is one that many will want to keep tabs on.