|Posted on July 5, 2010 at 2:12 AM|
Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych in Prague on Monday, July 5, 2010
Nations Cup: All square in SW19
WHAT IS NATIONS CUP?
The Nations Cup is a special ranking system that assesses the performances of tennis players of both genders from a specific country - the nation with the greatest overall success over the course of the season will be declared the Nations Cup champion.
With no Nations Cup update during Wimbledon on account of, well, Wimbledon, the countries are awarded points from the grass-court warm-ups this week as well as the points accrued from SW19.
The Grand Slams are the major points winners with 200 points awarded to the champion, 120 to the runner-up and 72 to beaten semi-finalists.
As such, there is little to report on the top two of the competition, with the USA still trailing Spain by around about 500 points.
If anything, the supposed red-dirt specialists have stretched their lead slightly after Guillermo Garcia-Lopez got in on the act and picked up runners-up points at Eastbourne.
The big movers in this latest edition are, unsurprisingly, the Czech Republic - as Petra Kvitova won her country 72 semi-final points from Wimbledon before Tomas Berdych went one better and reached the final. That tidy haul sees them move from ninth to fifth in the rankings.
Russia leap-frog Serbia into third with Vera Zvonareva having reached the Wimbledon final while Ekaterina Makarova won Eastbourne the week before.
Despite Janko Tipsarevic reaching the final in 's-Hertogenbosch, and Novak Djokovic putting together a semi-final run at Wimbledon, the Serb's actually fall two places to fifth - and are also overtaken by France thanks to points from Marion Bartoli and Michael Llodra, both of whom enjoyed runs at Eastbourne.
Belgium drop one place to seventh despite Justine Henin's triumph at 's-Hertogenbosch and semi-final appearances from Kristen Flipkens and Kim Clijsters at the Dutch tournament and Wimbledon respectively.
Italy and Switzerland also slip a place down the rankings after failing to pick up any points in the last three weeks, while Australia re-enter the top 10 after world number five Sam Stosur reached the semi-finals at Eastbourne.
Further down the rankings, Great Britain move one spot back up to 14th after Andy Murray's run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, while Belarus displace Argentina in the top 20 thanks to Victoria Azarenka's runners-up points from Eastbourne.
Nations Cup rankings (last week's position in brackets):
1. (1) Spain -- 1729
2. (2) USA -- 1223
3. (5) Serbia --606
4. (3) Russia --487
5. (9) Czech Republic --457
6. (4) France -- 439
7. (6) Belgium --429
8. (7) Italy --358
9.  Switzerland -- 342
10. (11) Australia --270
11. (10) Sweden --262
12. (11) Croatia --252
13. (13) China -- 202
14. (15) Great Britain -- 201
15. (14) Germany -- 159
16. (16) Israel -- 123
17. (17) Austria --108
18.  Latvia --104
19. (19) Denmark -- 103
20. (24) Belarus -- 99
HOW IT WORKS
Players are awarded points for reaching the semi-finals or further of a tournament with the total number of points for each player then being added to their country's tally.
The number of points awarded are weighted not only to reflect how far a player progressed (with the tournament winner receiving more points than the runner-up and more again than the beaten semi-finalists) but also to reflect the difficulty of the tournament.
Thus a Grand Slam win will earn a player 200 points, a Masters series win 100 points and so on through the four tournament categories.
And just to add to the confusion, a country will also be awarded bonus points if they provide both finalists at a tournament.