Eurosport - Wed, 28 Jul 15:33:00 2010
The USA reduce the deficit on Spain once again at the top of the leaderboard while Russia and the Czech Republic wage their own private battle for fourth.
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.
See the 'How it works' section below for a full explanation of the scoring system.
The USA have made inroads once again into Spain's overwhelming lead in this competition, producing not one but two finalists and a semi-finalist in Atlanta last week.
And with no Spaniards reaching the points stages of any tournaments this week, that means all 64 points the USA scored are pure profit.
Russia leap-frogged the Czech Republic again as they wage their own mini war for fourth place. Anna Chakvetadze finally returned to winning ways in Portoroz, two years after picking up her last tournament victory, while Ksenia Pervak reached her first senior semi-final.
Julia Georges picked up her first WTA title in Bad Gastein, beating Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky in the final, and helped Germany to move up two places to 13th, overtaking China and Great Britain in the process.
Nations Cup rankings (last week's position in brackets):
1. (1) Spain -- 1815
2. (2) USA -- 1312
3. (3) Serbia -- 606
4. (5) Russia -- 521
5. (4) Czech Republic -- 499
6. (6) France -- 488
7. (7) Belgium -- 444
8. (8) Italy -- 409
9. (9) Switzerland -- 381
10. (11) Sweden -- 292
11. (10) Australia -- 270
12. (12) Croatia -- 252
13. (15) Germany -- 211
14. (13) Great Britain -- 210
15. (14) China -- 202
16. (18) Austria -- 147
17. (16) Israel -- 123
18. (17) Argentina -- 118
19. (19) Latvia -- 104
20. (20) Denmark -- 103
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.