A Review Of The 2017 WTA season - UBITENNIS
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A Review Of The 2017 WTA season

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Ubitennis.net reviews a memorable 2017 WTA season, which was highlighted by Serena Williams’ win over her sister Venus in the Australian Open, Garbine Muguruza’s win at Wimbledon, the consistent results of Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams, the breakthrough of Jelena Ostapenko and the comeback of Sloane Stephens at the US Open

The best players of the year:

Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza clinched the second Grand Slam title of her career at Wimbledon by beating Venus Williams one year after her win over Serena at 2016 Roland Garros. The 24-year-old became the first player to beat both of the Williams sisters in Grand Slam finals. She won the Cincinnati title and reached the semifinals or better at Brisbane, Rome, Birmingham, Stanford and Tokyo. She climbed to World Number 1 after the US Open to become the 24th player in WTA history to do so and is the second Spanish player after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1995 to reach the top of the ranking.

Simona Halep
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During the China Open Muguruza was overtaken by Simona Halep, who became the fifth player to reach the top of the WTA Ranking this season after Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Muguruza. Halep missed out on her chance to reach the world number 1 spot twice this year, but reached the top of the rankings for the first time in her career at the third time of asking by defeating Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals of the China Open before losing to Caroline Garcia in the final. The Romanian became the seventh player to reach the world number 1 without winning a Grand Slam tournament, but she had a good season highlighted by her second consecutive title in Madrid, as well as four finals in Rome, Roland Garros, Cincinnati and Beijing. Halep is the first Romanian and the 25th player in history to take the world number 1 spot.

“It was very emotional. I think it was the first time that I cried on court. It’s amazing that I could do this. It was the toughest year, but also the best year. I was injured and I did not believe I would even be in Singapore,” Halep said about becoming world No.1.

The most consistent players:

Venus Williams

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In a very unpredictable season where each of the Grand Slam tournaments was won by four different players and there were many champions in most of the major Premier events, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki stood out as two of the most consistent stars on the WTA circuit. Venus reached two Grand Slam finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon and at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Returning back into the top 5 in the WTA Rankings, 12 spots better than in 2016.

At the Australian Open she came back from one set down to beat Coco Vandeweghe 6-7 6-2 6-3 to advance to her first Grand Slam final since Wimbledon 2009 and her first Australian Open final since 2003. In the title match she lost to her younger sister Serena, who made history by winning her 23rd career Grand Slam title before ending her season to give birth to her first daughter Alexis Olympia last September.

Venus beat Johanna Konta in the semifinal at Wimbledon, but lost the final against Muguruza. The US legend reached the world number 9 after Wimbledon. At the US Open Venus beat Petra Kvitova in a third set tie-break after 2 hours and 35 minutes in the quarter final to make her return to the top five of the WTA Ranking for the first time since January 2011. Williams was then defeated by Sloane Stephens in her first US Open semifinal since 2010.

At the WTA Finals in Singapore Williams beat Caroline Garcia in the semifinal before losing to Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

Caroline Wozniacki

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Wozniacki won two titles in Tokyo and Singapore and qualified for six more finals this year in Doha, Dubai, Miami, Eastbourne, Bastad and Toronto. At the WTA Finals in Singapore the Danish player of Polish origin lifted the biggest title of her career to move up to the world number 3 in the WTA Ranking, her highest year-end ranking since 2011.

Elina Svitolina

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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina won more titles on the WTA circuit than any other player and was the first player from her country to qualify for her WTA Finals in Singapore. Lifting three Premier 5 titles in Dubai, Rome and Toronto, plus two International-level tournaments in Taiwan and Istanbul.

In Toronto she beat four top 10 players (Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki) en route to the title. She also reached her second Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros and reached the top-5 in the WTA Ranking for the first time in her career.

The Surprise of the year: Jelena Ostapenko

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The 20-year-old Latvian player won her first tour-level singles title and Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros by beating Simona Halep in the final. She was the first unseeded player to win the French Open in the Open Era. Ostapenko went on to win another title in Seoul and qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career and reached her career-high of world number 7 last October. She has played 26 three-set matches with a 19-7 win-loss record.

The Comeback of the year: Sloane Stephens

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The US player, who made her breakthrough in 2013 when she reached the Australian Open semifinals, won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open after defeating five seeds en route to the final, including Dominika Cibulkova, Venus Williams in the semifinal and Madison Keys in the final. The US Open featured four home players in the semifinal (Stephens, Keys, Williams and Coco Vandeweghe). Stephens ended the 2016 season in August due to a serious foot injury and underwent surgery last January. After missing the first part of the season, Sloane returned to the court at Wimbledon, where she lost to Alison Riske in the first round. Stephens beat two top 20 players Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber in Toronto to reach the semifinals. She beat Kvitova for the second consecutive week to reach her second semifinal in a row in Cincinnati. After winning the US Open title she climbed to world number 17 and ended the year ranked 15.

The Rising star of the Year: Catherine Bellis

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US teenager Catherine “Cici” Bellis reached the semifinals at Mallorca and Stanford, the quarter finals at Dubai and Rabat and reached the third round at Roland Garros and Toronto. She ended the 2016 season at world number 90 and reached a career-high at number 35. She ended the 2017 ranked world number 44. The 18-year-old player has beaten four top 20 players. Agnieszka Radwanska in Dubai, Kiki Bertens in Roland Garros, Petra Kvitova in Stanford and Svetlana Kuznetsova in Toronto.

Doubles team of the year: Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan

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The Swiss and Taipei team won nine titles at Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Mallorca, Eastbourne, Cincinnati, US Open, Wuhan and Beijing and ended the season with a 49-6 win-loss record. They advanced to at least the quarterfinal stage at every tournament they have played together this year.

The match of the year:

Jelena Ostapenko beat Simona Halep 4-6 6-4 6-3 Roland Garros Final

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Ostapenko came back from one set down to beat Halep and win her maiden Grand Slam title after the most exciting match of the 2017 Roland Garros. Halep rallied from a break down to win the first set. The Romanian player opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Ostapenko bounced back by winning six consecutive games to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Halep got a break in the fourth game of the decisive set to take a 3-1 lead but Ostapenko broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. The Latvian player reeled off the final five games to win her first career Grand Slam.

“I cannot believe I am a Grand Slam champion at 20. It’s amazing to be here. I have no words. It is my dream. I knew Simona was a great player, but I tried to play aggressively and everything turned my way. I fought for every point. I am glad it finished my way,” said a delighted Ostapenko in Paris.

The best team of the year: USA

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The US team beat Belarus 3-2 in Minsk to lift their 18th Fed Cup in history. The team coached by Kathy Rinaldi clinched the trophy after Coco Vandeweghe and Shelby Rogers beat Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the decisive doubles match. Vandeweghe was the star of the US team as she won eight Fed Cup matches and became the first player to win more than six Fed Cup singles matches in a year since Petra Kvitova in 2011.

Vandeweghe enjoyed an impressive season at Grand Slam level reaching two semifinals at the Australian Open and at the US Open. She ended the season in the top 10 for the first time in her career after reaching the final at the WTA Elite Trophy Final in Zhuhai. The New York-born player hails from a sports family. Her mother is Tauna Vandeweghe, a 1976 Olympic swimmer. Coco’s grandfather Ernie Vandeweghe was a New York Knicks basketball player. Her uncle Kiki Vandeweghe and her grandmother’s brothers Mel Hutchins were NBA basketball players.

 

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WIMBLEDON: Day Four Talking Points Katie Boulter stuns former world no1 Karolina Pliskova

Katie Boulter caused a big upset on day four at Wimbledon.

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(@katiecboulter - Twitter)

Yesterday was a much better day for British tennis.

 

25-year-old Katie Boulter beat former world number one Karolina Pliskova down in Eastbourne last week, and she repeated the trick on the biggest stage in the world: Centre Court.

She played the match of her life to down last year’s Wimbledon finalist winning 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, rebounding from a set down.

After the match, she dedicated the win to her grandma who passed away this week.

Boulter is into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

There was more good news for British tennis as Liam Broady stunned 12th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Brit battled back to win in five sets 6-2, 4-6, 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 with an impressive performance.

Broady makes it into round three of Wimbledon for the first time.

And coming back for the fourth day in a row after fading light could not have been easy for Heather Watson.

But she got the job done, sealing the solitary game she needed to beat China’s Qiang Wang 7-5, 6-4.

She has now given herself a real shot of making week two of Wimbledon.

Iga, Coco, and Rafa through

Elsewhere, world number one Iga Świątek overcame a second set blip to beat Holland’s Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

Although ranked well outside the top 100, she put up a gallant fight, going down on Court One, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The win extends the Pole’s winning streak to 37 matches.

And two-time champion Rafa Nadal had a scare of his own as he rolled through the first two sets.

But a successful junior player, Ričardas Berankis, now 32, played above his level to take the third set.

For the second match in a row, Nadal conceded the third set when two sets up and cruising.

This extended his time on the court. But he wasn’t to be denied, prevailing in four sets, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The main worry being when more dangerous opponents, than Berankis, in all due respect face the Spaniard, he can ill afford to drop cheap sets when ahead and in the driving seat.

And Coco Gauff beat 34-year-old Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu easily in straight sets,winning 6-2, 6-3.

Best of the rest

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his good form on grass, after capuring a first title on the surface last week at the Mallorca Open.

He streamed past Australia’s Jordan Thompson, triumphing in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, young star Amanda Anisimova and former champion Simona Halep are also through.

But Brits Jack Draper and Harriet Dart exited to Alex de Minaur and Jessica Pegula, respectively.

And Denis Shapovalov was the major casualty from the men’s draw on Thursday as he surprisingly went down to American Brandon Nakashima in four sets.

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Ons Jabeur On Carrying The Expectations Of A Nation At Wimbledon

The world No.2 is yet to drop a set in the tournament as she eyes a major breakthrough this year at Wimbledon.

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Ons Jabeur (TUN) - Credit: AELTC/Jon Super

Ons Jabeur has got accustomed to knowing that how she performs in the sport will be closely monitored by her home country and its neighbors.

The 27-year-old is a trailblazer for Tunisian tennis after achieving a series of milestones. She is the first Arab woman to win a Tour title, crack the top 10 and reach the quarter-final of a major. Back home she is known by the nickname ‘Minister of Happiness’ which was created by her fellow Tunisians. There is plenty of love for Jabeur but there is also just as much expectation for her to do well.

“Everybody is following me, expecting me to do better and better. I hope I continue being that person that gives them what they’re expecting,” she said.
“I’m just trying my best to break records, to really open the path for the next generation.”

 

At a ranking high of No.2 in the world, Jabeur is trying to rewrite Wimbledon history for the second year in a row. In 2021 she became the first Arab woman to reach the last eight. This year she looks to be in solid form after playing three matches without dropping a set. Her latest win was on Friday when she disposed of Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3. She is yet to lose any more than eight games in a match so far.

“I love playing here (at Wimbledon). I want to keep it (matches) as short as I can. For now, I’m just enjoying really playing on grass,” she said.
“I want to play my best tennis. Obviously, if you’re too comfortable, it’s not that good as well. I’m trying to keep focused.”

Jabeur has already won 33 matches this year, which is the second-highest tally on the Tour after Iga Swiatek. She has featured in four finals, winning titles on the clay in Madrid and Grass in Berlin.

Although like every other tennis player it is a Grand Slam that she desires the most. This year’s Wimbledon is her 21st appearance in the main draw of a major.

It would mean a lot for me, for my family and for my country,” she said of possibly winning Wimbledon. “I just want to keep proving that nothing is impossible and if you put something in your mind, you can achieve it.


At SW19 Jabeur’s next test will be against Belgium’s Elise Mertens. A player who she lost to in straight sets at the US Open last September. Mertens defeated 15th seed and former champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5, in her third round match.

“I am playing the tennis that I love to see. Obviously, there are a few things to improve. I want to be challenged for the next round, for sure, and see how I handle that pressure.” Jabeur concluded.

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Novak Djokovic Equals Laver’s Grass-Court Winning Streak With Emphatic Wimbledon Win

The world No.3 was in ruthless form as he dropped only seven game in his latest match at The All England Club.

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Novak Djokovic (SRB)- Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

Novak Djokovic has breezed into the fourth round of Wimbledon after dismissing fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets.

 

The reigning champion was in top form from the onset as he stormed to a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4, win in under two hours. It is the third time in a row he has beaten Kecmanovic on the Tour and the first on grass. In what was a largely clinical display from the former world No.1, Djokovic hit 36 winners and six aces.

“I thought it started off very well, very strong with a lot of good intensity. Good focus,” said Djokovic. “I know Miomir quite well, we train together a lot. I’m really glad that he, alongside a couple of other (Serbian) players is doing well. I wish him all the best. Hopefully, I will get to play against him many more times on the biggest courts.

In only the third all-Serbian men’s match in the Open Era at Wimbledon, Djokovic got off to a perfect start by steamrolling his way through the opener in just 25 minutes. Dropping just six points on his serve and 12 overall in the set. It is the first time he has bagel a player at Wimbledon since doing so against David Goffin in 2019.

Fortunately for Kecmanovic and the Center Court crowd, the second frame was much more competitive with the world No.30 producing glimmers of the tennis that has taken him to two Masters 1000 quarter-finals earlier this year. Three times in two separate games Djokovic had a break point chance but failed to convert.

Continuing to wear down his compatriot, the top seed eventually secured a breakthrough whilst leading 4-3. Playing behind the baseline he slipped on the grass during a rally whilst having another break point chance but this time Kecmanovic hit the ball out to hand him the advantage. Djokovic went on to close out the set with a backhand lob. 

The only blip in the match for Djokovic occurred when he was trying to close the match out. After easing his way to a double break advantage in the third set, he dropped serve for the first time. However, he prevailed on his second chance to serve the match out to seal his 330th Grand Slam main draw win. 

“It means that I have been playing for quite a few years which I’m very grateful for and I’m very blessed to be in this position to compete at the highest level,” Djokovic replied when asked about winning tally ay major events.
“I’m very proud of my consistency at this level.”

Friday’s win is Djokovic’s 24th in a row on the grass which puts him level with tennis great Rod Laver on the all-time list. Only Bjorn Borg (41) and Roger Federer (65) have ever won more matches on the surface. It is the 55th time in his career he has reached the last 16 of a major tournament. 

So far in this year’s draw, he has only dropped one set in three matches played. That was in the first round against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.

“I think I’ve been playing better and better as the tournament progresses. It is something you wish for as a player that you raise your level of tennis up a notch,” he said.
“I know I can always do better. I always expect the highest from myself but so far, so good. I look forward to the next challenge.”

Djokovic will play Dutch sensation Tim van Rijthoven in the fourth round.

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