Victoria Azarenka clinches her 18th WTA title and her first since 2013 - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka clinches her 18th WTA title and her first since 2013



Victoria Azarenka clinched her 18th career title and her first since her win over Serena Williams in Cincinnati in August 2013 at the Brisbane International beating Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1.


Azarenka has extended her win-loss record to 6-0 in her head-to-head matches against Kerber.

Azarenka clinched a hard-fought first set with 6-3. The first six games went on serve until 3-3. Kerber was solid with her left-handed backhand. The German played a great defense tennis, while Azarenka made good shots at the net. The match was highly entertaining in the first six games with a lot of winners and few errors.

There were three consecutive breaks in the first set from the fifth game. Azarenka earned the first break point at 2-2. Kerber saved the first break point but Azarenka earned another break point and converted it for 3-2 as Kerber missed a forehand wide. Kerber broke straight back in the next game after a great return game to draw level to 3-3 but Azarenka took another break lead in the seventh game for 4-3 with after a great return game before holding her next service game. Azarenka broke for the third straight time closing out the first set after Kerber made a double fault on the set point.

Azarenka saved three break points in the first game of the second set to hold her serve for 1-0 before going up a set and a break in the second game. Azarenka reeled off six her sixth consecutive game to race to a 3-0 lead. Azarenka held her serve in the fifth game for 4-1 before breaking serve for the fifth time in the match in the next game after Kerber made a double fault.

Azarenka earned two championships point at 5-1 40-15. Kerber saved the first chance but Azarenka sealed the win at the second opportunity.

Azarenka hit 23 winners to just nine unforced errors and converted five of her eight break point chances. Kerber hit 25 winners to 27 unforced errors

Azarenka has showed great form at the start of the season and will be one of the players to beat at the Australian Open which starts on 18th January. She won her 18th title in 34 finals. Kerber lost for the 11th time in 18 finals.

Australia is the lucky place for Azarenka who won her first Brisbane title in 2009. Down Under she won two consecutive Australian Open titles in 2012 and 2013. She finished 2012 at the top of the ranking and 2013 in second place behind Serena Williams. Vika has won 35 of her last 39 matches in Australia since 2012.

She reached the Brisbane final in 2014 losing to Serena Williams but she was blighted by injury problems which forced her to miss five months of the season. Azarenka came back in 2015 when she reached the quarter finals at the Australian Open beating Caroline Wozniacki en route before losing to Dominika Cibulkova in three sets.

In Doha 2015 Azarenka scored three wins over top-20 players against Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams before losing to Lucie Safarova in the final. At last September’s US Open she beat Lucie Hradecka, Yanina Wickmayer, Angelique Kerber and Varvara Lepchenko before losing to Simona Halep in three sets.

Azarenka lost just 13 games in her four matches en route to the final beating Elena Vesnina, Ysaline Bonaventure, US Open finalist Roberta Vinci and US qualifier Samantha Crawford..

Azarenka was accompanied by a young girl during the victory ceremony

“Congratulations to Angelique and thank you for pushing me. You always push my limits. I hope we get to play more matches soon and good luck for the rest of the year”, said Azarenka.

Angelique Kerber said during the post-match victory ceremony: “I would like to say congratulations to Vika. You have always been a tough opponent. I think it’s now 0-6. I hope next time you will give me a chance to win”.  

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REPORT: Seven Out Of The 10 Highest-Paid Female Athletes Of 2023 Are Tennis Players



Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

Tennis leads the way when it comes to earnings generated among female athletes this year, according to a new report


Sports business publication Sportico has compiled a list of the 15 highest-paid female athletes this year with the majority of them being tennis players. The list is based on what the athletes have earned through both prize money and endorsements before tax. The earnings have been calculated via ‘conversations with those familiar with marketing agreements and also includes royalties, memorabilia, appearance fees, media and businesses tied to their celebrity.’

Coco Gauff has been named as the highest earner as a result of her triumph at the US Open in September which reportedly led to her receiving a substantial bonus from her sponsors Head and New Balance. She is said to have earned $22.7M with $16M of that coming from endorsements. During this year Gauff has signed new sponsorship deals with UPS, Bose and Baker Tilley. She already has deals with the likes of Italian pasta maker Barilla and others. 

Iga Swiatek, who sealed her return to world No.1 during the WTA Finals in Mexico, is second on the list with a total of $21.9M in earnings. This time last year Sportico ranked her as the seventh highest-earner in women’s sport. 

Also among the highest earners are two players who have recently been absent from the Tour but for different reasons. Emma Raducanu hasn’t played since April due to injury but has still managed to rake in $16m in endorsements which is $4M more than Swiatek. Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka has received $15m in Endorsements and is the only tennis player in the top 15 to have no salary earnings. Osaka has been away from the sport following the birth of her first child and is expected to return to action next month. 

Also in the top 10 are Aryna Sabalenka ($12.2m), Elena Rybakina ($9.5M) and Jessica Pegula ($9M). Further down the list, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez is in joint 13th place with skier Mikaeka Shiffric ($6.1M) and Ons Jabeur is 15th ($5.7M).

Sportico was launched in 2020 and is part of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), an American digital media, publishing, and information services company. PMG also owns notable publications such as Rolling Stone, Billboard and Variety. 

The 15th highest-paid female athlete’s of 2023

EndorsementsTotal2022 Rank
1Coco GauffTENNIS$6.7M$16M$22.7M8
2Iga ŚwiątekTENNIS$9.9M$12M$21.9M7
4Emma RaducanuTENNIS$238K$16M$16.2M3
5Naomi OsakaTENNIS$0$15M$15M1
6Aryna SabalenkaTENNIS$8.2M$4M$12.2MN/A
7Elena RybakinaTENNIS$5.5M$4M$9.5MN/A
8Jessica PegulaTENNIS$6M$3M$9MN/A
9Simone BilesGYMNASTICS$0$8.5M$8.5M5
10Nelly KordaGOLF$1.4M$6.5M$7.9M13
11Alex MorganFOOTBALL$850K$6M$6.9M11
12Megan RapinoeFOOTBALL$750K$6M$6.8M11
13Leylah FernandezTENNIS$1.1M$5M$6.1M10
13Mikaela ShiffrinSKIING$1.1M$5M$6.1MN/A
15Ons JabeurTENNIS$3.2M$2.5M$5.7MN/A

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Former Champion Caroline Wozniacki Handed Australian Open Wildcard



Caroline Wozniacki at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Caroline Wozniacki will return to the Australian Open next month for the first time in four years after receiving a wildcard into the main draw.


The former world No.1 originally retired from tennis at Melbourne Park in 2020 before deciding to make a return to the sport earlier this year during the summer at the age of 33. Wozniacki has played in only three tournaments so far in her comeback with her most recent being in September at the US Open where she reached the fourth round before losing to Coco Gauff, who went on to win the title. She also reached the second round of the Canadian Open but lost in the first round of Cincinnati.

“I have so many wonderful memories of Melbourne, and of course winning the Australian Open is an all-time career highlight,” said Wozniacki, who is currently ranked outside the top 200.

2024 will be Wozniacki’s 14th appearance in the main draw of the Australian Open. In 2018 she beat Simona Halep to win her first and so far only Grand Slam title. She also reached the semi-finals in 2011 and then the quarter-final stage 12 months later.

“Melbourne’s one of my most favourite cities in the world, and I can’t wait to share it with my family and my kids,” she told The AO Show podcast.
“It’s obviously a tournament I feel extremely comfortable at. I love the balls, I love the court, and I love the fans.
“And I hope that I get a nice welcome back when I see everyone there – and I’m sure I will; it really is a special place.
“I’m truly grateful to everyone for the wildcard and having the opportunity to compete again at the AO in January.”

Wozniacki has recently been in South America where she played an exhibition match against Maria Sakkari in Mexico last week. She is yet to confirm if she will play any tournaments leading up to the Australian Open. However, she is not on the entry list for the Brisbane International which will begin on December 31st. 

Besides Wozniacki, six Australian players have also been given wildcards to play in the first Grand Slam of the season. For the women’s draw Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki and Taylah Preston have received passes. Meanwhile, James Duckworth, Marc Polmans and Adam Walton will play in the men’s draw. 

The Australian Open is taking place over 15 days for the first time in its history with play starting on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions. 

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Federer’s Ex-Coach Rate Jannik Sinner’s Chances Of Grand Slam Glory In 2024



Photo by Marta Magni

Jannik Sinner has ‘real hope’ of winning a major title in the new season but his chances of success depend on how well he can handle the occasion, according to the former coach of Roger Federer. 


Ivan Ljubicic, who is also a former world No.3 player himself, has hailed Sinner’s strong end to the 2023 season where he reached the final of the ATP Finals and played a pivotal role in Italy winning the Davis Cup. During those two events, the 22-year-old won two out of his three meetings against Novak Djokovic. Overall, he has recorded 13 wins over top 10 players this year with 10 of those being against opposition ranked in the top five. He won titles in Montpellier, Toronto, Beijing and Vienna. 

Speaking about the world No.4 during an interview with Tuttosport, Ljubicic notes that Sinner’s rise in the sport has been more steady compared to that of Carlos Alcaraz who has already reached world No.1 and won two major titles. Alcaraz is almost two years younger than the Italian and trails their head-to-head 3-4. 

“Jannik is not like Alcaraz, who went from 40 to 1, he needs his steps,” Tennis 365 quoted Ljubicic as telling Tuttosport. “I think what he has done in the last two months, the confirmation of relentless work, has brought him closer to the goal.
“He needed certain experiences to feel comfortable in the path. At the end of 2022 I had said I was sorry that Jannik had not played important matches against the big boys. Now he has nothing more to learn. He has a perfect attitude on and off the court, in interviews he is not afraid to talk about his limitations and more.”

Given his recent success on the Tour, some believe Sinner will be a Grand Slam title contender during the new season. He has already reached the quarter-finals or better at every major tournament at least once so far in his career. His best Grand Slam performance so far was at this year’s Wimbledon Championships where he reached the semi-finals before losing to Djokovic. 

“Having won the Davis Cup allows him to go into Australia with real hope. And he has beaten all the top 10,” Ljubicic commented.
“We will see him in Slam management: when you have a day if you feel the pressure, if you think a lot – and he is very reflective – you can have some more problems.
“He is surrounded by a staff of very capable people, though. His strength is character. He never goes off the deep end and is not content. When I got to No 3 I thought I had reached the top and began my downward trajectory.”

Sinner’s 2023 season saw him produce a win-loss record of 64-15 and earn more than $8.2M in prize money. 

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