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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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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Roland Garros 2024: Coco Gauff Preparing For Uncomfortable Changes In Paris

Coco Gauff is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game ahead of Roland Garros.

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Coco Gauff has said that she is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for Roland Garros.

The American is a former finalist having reached the final in 2022 but has struggled with her game throughout the clay court season.

However there was hope in Rome as she did reach the semi-finals in Italy before losing comfortably to Iga Swiatek in the last four.

Speaking ahead of the start of the tournament Gauff is confident of a good run in Paris after an encouraging display in Italy, “I have been here for a couple days now, and I feel like I have been preparing great,” the American was quoted by Reuters as saying on media day.

“Had a good tournament in Rome, so I’m excited, hope I can have good vibes here. Last week I felt like from the start of the week till the end of the week I improved a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence for this tournament.”

Despite a recent poor run of form, Gauff has had an incredible last 12 months and is looking to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

However Gauff would like to be more competitive when facing her rivals at the big events which is something that hasn’t improved since she won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Now the 20 year-old has admitted that she will have to make some uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for her Roland Garros campaign, “I feel like, overall, if I want to be the player that I want to become, I have to be uncomfortable and make changes to my game, not just to my serve, but other things, as well,” Gauff explained.

“I have been trying to improve it with every tournament, from the start of the clay to Rome. My last match it was a lot better in terms of percentage and the double faults. I think I’m confident.

“I feel like it’s getting better but it’s obviously a shot that is tough to change because when you’re tight you revert back to what you know works. Sometimes it’s tough to push yourself to do the uncomfortable things which you know in the long term are better for you.”

Gauff will begin her campaign against a qualifier on Monday.

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