Miami, 5 April 2011 | AP

Maria Sharapova returned to the top 10 in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday after reaching the final in Miami at the weekend.

Sharapova lost the final 6-1 6-4 to Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, who moved to her highest-ever ranking of sixth.

Although she hasn’t played since winning Wimbledon nine months ago, Serena Williams somehow also managed to move up two spots to No.10 in the WTA rankings, making her the only tennis player from the United States – male or female – in the top 10.

Serena is alone because her sister Venus slipped from ninth to 15th, while Andy Roddick dropped from eighth to 14th in the ATP rankings.

The upper echelons of both rankings have been loaded with Americans since computerised lists began for the men in 1973 and the women two years later, but that could soon change.

Serena Williams has won 13 grand slam singles titles in her career but suffered a pulmonary embolism in February and was hospitalised to remove a grapefruit-sized hemotoma from her stomach. Before that, and shortly after winning her fourth title at the All England Club in July, she cut her foot on glass at a restaurant – resulting in a pair of operations.

But the amount of points she amassed up until then were enough to put her back in the top 10 for the first time since January because her sister and Marion Bartoli of France both dropped points in this week’s rankings.

Venus Williams hasn’t played since retiring because of an abdominal injury in the third round of the Australian Open on January 21.

It’s not known when either Williams will return to the tour.

Serena Williams’ stay in the top 10 could be a short one, however, because she leads No.11 Shahar Peer of Israel by only five points, 3,035 to 3,030.