Finalists announced for the 2015 WTA Comeback of the Year Award - UBITENNIS
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Finalists announced for the 2015 WTA Comeback of the Year Award

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Venus Williams in action during the 2015 US Open (image via Sky Sports)

The WTA has released the finalists for the 2015 WTA Comeback of the Year Award. The criteria to be selected as Comeback of the Year Award winner includes players who have made a come-back after their ranking previously dropped due to injury or personal reasons and their current season’s results have helped restore the ranking.

 

The finalists for the 2015 WTA Comeback of the Year Award are Venus Williams, Bethanie Mattek Sands, Anastasija Sevastova and Katerina Bondarenko.

Venus Williams began her season with a title in Auckland before reaching the quarter finals in the Australian Open where she lost against US teenager Madison Keys. She has returned to to the top-10 for the first time since 2011 rejoining her younger sister Serena after the quarter finals at the US Open and the two titles on Chinese soil in Wuhan and Zhuhai. The 35 year-old player has ended the year at world number 7 becoming the oldest top-10 player since 1994 when Martina Navratilova finished the season as number 8 at the age of 38.

Bethanie Mattek Sands was ranked outside the Top 250 following a hip surgery but produced a remarkable come-back in 2015 after reaching the third round in three Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open) and the quarter final in the Premier Mandatory in Beijing. Thanks to these results she has moved up to World Number 61 at the end of the year. She also won the first two Grand Slam titles in the doubles at the Australian Open and at the Roland Garros together with her teammate Lucie Safarova.

Anastasija Sevastova was forced to walk away from tennis in 2013 after a long battle against an elbow injury after reaching the 36th position in the WTA Ranking in 2011. She made her come-back this year winning two ITF Circuit titles. During the summer she reached the semifinals in Florianapolis before reaching the quarter final as a qualifier in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow after beating Karolina Pliskova.

Kateryna Bondarenko returned to the WTA Circuit after giving birth to her first child. She reached the quarter final in the WTA Tournament in Istanbul (after beating Venus Williams) before returning to the Main Draw in a Grand Slam at the US Open (where she reached the second round) for the first time since returning to the circuit. She has returned to the top 100 for the first time since 2012.

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches the second round in Abu Dhabi

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Former Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova cruised past Romanian qualifier Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 14 minutes in the opening round of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open.

 

Krejcikova won 80% of her first service points and converted five of her seven break points. The Czech now leads 2-0 in her two head-to-head matches against Ruse after winning their previous match in Buchrest in three sets. 

Krejcikova reached the fourth round at this year’s Australian Open and won five of her seven matches this year. She claimed her seventh Grand Slam doubles title in Melbourne alongside Katerina Siniakova. 

After a trade of breaks Krejcikova earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the opening set 6-1. Both players exchanged breaks in the first two games of the second set. They held their next service games before Krejcikova sealed the win with a break in the ninth game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Liudmila Samsonova rallied from one set down to beat Claire Liu 3-6 6-2 6-0. Samsonova won 86% of her first service points. 

Liu earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Samsonova pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Liu won the final three games with a break in the eighth game to close out the first set 6-3. Samsonova earned five breaks in the second and third sets to seal the win. 

Liu replaced Paula Badosa, who was forced to withdraw from the match due to a respiratory illness. 

Brazil’s world number 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia came back from one set down to beat Marie Bouzkova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in two and a half hours. Haddad Maia will face Yulia Putintseva.

Haddad Maia broke in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Bouzkova pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Bouzkova closed out the first set with her second break in the 10th game. Haddad Maia broke serve in the third and ninth games to seal the second set 6-3.The Brazilian player broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set. 

Karolina Pliskova cruised past Ysaline Bonaventure 6-1 6-3 after 47 minutes. Bonaventure replaced Garbine Muguruza. Pliskova set up a second round match against this year’s Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina. Zheng Qinwen beat qualifier Rebecca Marino 6-3 6-3. The Chinese player faced just one break point at 4-2 in the second set and saved with a forehand winner. She will face Jelena Ostapenko for the second time in the past seven months. Zheng beat Ostapenko 6-3 3-6 6-4 in in the first round of the the US Open last year.

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Marc Andrea Huesler overcomes Luca Van Assche in Montpellier

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Marc Andrea Huesler had to dig deep to beat French 18-year-old Next Gen player Luca Van Assche 6-3 3-6 6-3 reaching the second round at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Huesler came off a good Davis Cup campaign, where he scored two wins against German players Oscar Otte and Alexander Zverev to help Switzerland qualify for the Davis Cup Group Stage.  

Huesler saved five of the six break points he faced and fired 13 aces. The Swiss 26-year-old player won 86% of his first serve points. 

Huesler saved a total of four break points in in the first and third games. The Swiss player earned break in the sixth game for 4-2 and held his next two service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Van Assche saved two break points to hold serve after five deuces before breaking serve in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

Huesler converted his only break point in the second game to win the third set 6-3. 

Huesler set up a match against last year’s Paris Bercy Masters 1000 champion Holger Rune. Huesler leads 2-0 in his previous two head-to-head matches against Rune, as he scored straight-set wins in Bastad and in the Sofia Open final. 

“It’s always different, every tournament starts from scratch. Today I felt the pressure was a bit more on my side because obviously I want to win. I want to start off the year well indoors as well. I am really happy I got it done”, said Huesler. 

Lorenzo Sonego beat Benjamin Bonzi 6-3 6-4. Sonego won his third ATP Tour title on French Indoor hard court in Metz. 

Sonego fired 5 aces and won 70% of his first service points. The Italian player started the match with an early break. He saved a break point tìin the sixth game before earning a double break to close out the first set 6-3. 

Sonego saved three consecutive break points at the second set. Bonzi went down 0-40 in the sixth game, but he held serve. Sonego sealed the win on his second match point with a passing shot winner. 

“I enjoy playing in Montpellier. I like the atmosphere. I was focused on my game. I played well on serve and on return. I want to enjoy every moment on court”, said Sonego. 

Quentin Halys needed three sets to see off Clement Chidekh 7-5 2-6 7-5. 

Marton Fucsovics overcame Geoffrey Biancaneaux 7-5 5-7 6-0 to set up a second round match against Jannik Sinner. In their recent Australian Open clash Sinner came back from one set down to beat Fucsovics 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0.  

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Jelena Ostapenko overcomes Danielle Collins in a thrilling match in Abu Dhabi

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Number 5 seed Jelena Ostapenko battled past Danielle Collins 7-5 1-6 7-5 in 2 hours and 16 minutes in a rollercoaster match to advance to the second round at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. 

 

Ostapenko has extended her winning streak to six consecutive matches on Emirati soil. The Latvian player clinched her fifth WTA Tour title in Dubai in February 2022. 

The 2017 Roland Garros champion beat Collins for the second time in as many meetings after beating Collins 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 in the 2018 Milami semifinals.

Ostapenko continued her good period of form after reaching the quarter finals at the Australian Open. She will face a second round against either Zheng Quinwen or qualifier Rebecca Marino. 

Collins earned her first break with a return winner to take a 4-3 lead, but she made a double fault, as she was a break point down when she serving for the set. Ostapenko reeled off four consecutive games to seal the first set 7-5. 

Collins bounced back in the second set by earning a double break with three consecutive return winners to seal the second set 6-1 forcing the match to the third set. 

Ostapenko converted her fifth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Collins pulled back on serve in the eighth game after three double faults from Ostapenko to draw level to 4-4. Ostapenko won 12 of the last 15 points to close out the third set 7-5. 

“Danielle is a great player. It’s always a tough match against her because she plays really well and she’s such a fighter. The match is never over until we shake hands. I am really glad that, even I did not play  my best tennis, I was fighting and I managed to win the match. These kind of matches give confidence”, said Ostapenko. 

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