PARIS - Serena Williams was confirmed as the world No.1 despite her defeat against Victoria Azarenka in the Qatar Open on Sunday, as the two rivals swapped places in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday.
The 31-year-old American becomes the oldest ever woman to claim top spot following her run to the Doha final, moving 265 points clear of Azarenka with Russia's Maria Sharapova remaining third.
Ninth-ranked Samantha Stosur, who reached career-high ranking of No.4 in 2011, remains the only Australian, male or female, in the world's top 10.
"I never thought I would be here again," she said tearfully to a cheering crowd after her victory over former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Friday was enough to guarantee her climb back to the top.
"Oh, my gosh, I've been through so much. I never thought I would be here."
After winning Wimbledon and the US Open last year, Williams' total of grand slam titles has risen to 15, only three fewer than retired greats Martina Navratilova and Evert, who together are second on the all-time list behind Steffi Graf with 22.
1. Serena Williams (USA)
2. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
3. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
4. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
5. Na Li (CHN)
6. Angelique Kerber (GER)
7. Sara Errani (ITA)
8. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
9. Samantha Stosur (AUS)
10. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)