The Best Performers Of 2018 In Women's Tennis - UBITENNIS
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The Best Performers Of 2018 In Women’s Tennis

Ubitennis analyse the performances of the best players on the WTA Tour.

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2018 featured four different women’s singles champions at the Grand Slam events for the second straight year, three of whom were first-time Major champions. It was a year that saw multi-time former finalists in Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki finally realize Grand Slam glory. It was a year that saw young new stars born, like Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka. And it was a year that saw the return of the GOAT, Serena Williams, who was an inspiration in reaching two Major finals, but ended her year as a part of 2018’s most controversial incident. Here’s a look at the best performers of 2018, listed in order of their year-end ranking.

Simona Halep

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  • 6.921 points
  • 46-11 match record (.807 winning percentage)
  • 3 titles, including her first Major at Roland Garros, the Premier 5 event in Montreal, and Shenzen in the first week of the year.
  • 48 weeks ranked No.1, including the end of the year.

Recap: The year started with more Major heartache for Halep in Melbourne. Despite dramatic victories over Lauren Davis and Angelique Kerber, Simona fell just short in the final to Caroline Wozniacki. But Halep’s perseverance paid off at the next Major, when Simona finally prevailed in her fourth Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. Her summer was highlighted by her defeat of Sloane Stephens in a stellar final to win the Rogers Cup. Halep went out early at both Wimbledon and the US Open, and missed the last few tournaments of 2018 due to a back injury, yet had more than enough points from earlier in the year to secure the year-end No.1 ranking for the second straight year. With little match play to end the year, and the departure of her coach, Darren Cahill, 2019 will present new challenges for the world No.1.

Angelique Kerber

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  • 5,875 points
  • 46-19 match record (.708 winning percentage)
  • 2 titles, including her third Major at Wimbledon, and Sydney at the beginning of the year.
  • Ended the year ranked No.2, 19 spots higher than 2017.

Recap: Kerber quickly put her disappointing 2017 behind her by winning her first 10 matches of the year, landing her in the Australian Open semifinals. Despite losing prolonged affairs to World No.1 Simona Halep at both the Australian and Roland Garros, Kerber won what she described at the biggest title of her career at Wimbledon. She defeated Serena Williams in the final to do so, becoming only the second woman to have two victories over Serena in Major finals. Following her Wimbledon triumph, Kerber went just 7-7 to finish out the year, and parted ways with her coach, Wim Fisette, right before the WTA Finals. Angelique will need to start from scratch in 2019 as far as building some momentum.

Caroline Wozniacki

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  • 5,586 points
  • 41-17 match record (.707 winning percentage)
  • 3 titles, including for her first Major at the Australian Open, Eastbourne, and Beijing.
  • Spent four weeks as the world No.1 following her victory in Melbourne.

Recap: Of course the highlight of Wozniacki’s 2018 took place in January, where she finally proved the naysayers wrong and won a Major title. That alone made this year a successful one for Caroline. She had a bit of letdown in the coming months, and battled injuries throughout the summer. But she ended the year positively by winning the title in Beijing, and qualifying for the WTA Finals for the sixth time.

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Davis Cup

EXCLUSIVE Interview With US Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish: “If Davis Cup Fails, We All Fail”

Mardy Fish takes the reins of the US Davis Cup team and feels very strongly about the new format for the competition: “If you love Davis Cup you have to support it, even with this format”

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After Jim Courier’s resignation from the role of US Davis Cup Captain last September after the defeat in the 2018 semifinal against Croatia, the USTA decided to take their time and make some changes to the duties required by the role. Following Courier’s suggestion that “the new captain should be someone closer in age to the players”, the United States Tennis Association decided to trust former world no.7 Mardy Fish with this important responsibility, also making him a key figure in the Player Development Program, expanding the role of captain into a year-round presence at tournaments around the world to provide a bigger support to players.

While we were covering the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Mardy found the time to talk to Ubitennis over the phone from his house in California and provided some insight into this new adventure for him.

What can you tell us about your first few months in your new role?

It’s been a fun few months, adjusting from the role of peer to the other players to that of captain. I have found a lot of respect towards me from the other players and this is obviously a great thing. I have always been a huge fan of Davis Cup, I have always said yes whenever I had the opportunity to play it, and it’s an honor to be in this role.

You retired a few years ago from professional tennis: how do you feel about getting back on the road now that your life is structured in a different way?

My life at home has been quite established, with my wife and my two kids, but I have been doing a bit of personal traveling for some exhibitions and for golfing. This role will not require a lot of traveling, I will just do what I need to create some camaraderie in the team: I have spent a few days in Indian Wells, from Tuesday to Saturday, I will be a few days in Miami, then I won’t be around much for the European season and I will travel again to tournaments in the summer. I just need the players to know that they have my support and the support of the USTA if it’s needed.

What do you think about the new formula for the Davis Cup?

I think it’s too early to tell right now, we will find out how it goes. On paper the formula sounds awesome, the time was right for a change, although I’m not sure if it was necessary to make it as drastic as this. I know there are some people that feel very strongly against this new formula, but this means that people are passionate about Davis Cup, they really care about it.
The date in the calendar for the Finals is quite tough though. But at the end of the day, if it’s Davis Cup the majority of players will find a way to participate and I’m convinced we will get an excellent field.
As far as the US Team is concerned, I don’t foresee any availability issue from our players, especially the younger ones: they are very excited about playing for the USA, the National Team is in a lot of conversations among our players. I can’s speak for other countries, I know some of them have pledged not to play with the new format, but what we need to remember is that we are all responsible for Davis Cup: if Davis Cup fails, we all fail, we are all together on the same boat. For example, the Australian players are all very passionate about Davis Cup, they love it, and that is fantastic. But if they don’t support it, it’s not going to work.

With the new formula, a team getting to the final will need to play six ties in seven days: how important do you think it will be to have a ‘long bench’?

I think it will be important to bring players who play only singles and other players who play only doubles. I believe that teams that only have one or two players, as it could be for Russia, and relying on them to play both singles and doubles could get into a bit of a situation should they get to the business end of the competition, because their players may get there quite tired. We are lucky in that sense because we can have someone like Jack Sock who could play doubles leaving the singles guys free to worry about the singles.

Tennis politics have recently made the headlines with Chris Kermode not being renewed as the ATP CEO. What is your take on this?

I have spoken to some of the guys who are in the Players’ Council and once again I need to stress that they do what they do because they act with passion. They are passionate about tennis, they act out of love for the game even if their ranking is not high. I know Kermode personally from when he was the Tournament Directors at the Queen’s Tournament and everything was perfect for me; I don’t have direct experience with him at the helm of the ATP, I had already retired when he took the reins of the organization.

A few weeks ago the ITF decided the composition of the Round Robin phase of the Davis Cup Final and the US team will be in the same group as Italy and Canada. Can you tell us about these teams?

Well, Canada has the right mix of experience and youth: Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime are going to be there for a long time, and Milos [Raonic] will be able to give them all the support they need. Similarly, Italy has an established core of players such as Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi that will be supplemented by Marco Cecchinato, whom I know him anyway because he is was my opponent in my last match ever at the US Open.
I am very confident about our chances in this group: we have three top 60 players who are still 21 years old or younger, who are Tiafoe, Fritz and Opelka. Tiafoe has just reached the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and that’s not a result that you can improvise, you need to beat good players to get there. They will be the core of our team for the years to come, and they will be helped by more established veterans like John [Isner] or Sam [Querrey].

 

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David Ferrer rallies from one set down to stun Alexander Zverev in Miami

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Former world number 3 David Ferrer fought back from one set down to upset 2018 Nitto ATP Finals Alexander Zverev 2-6 7-5 6-3 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

David Ferrer, who reached the final in Miami in 2013, has scored his first win against a top 5 player since 2015, when he beat Kei Nishikori in the Acapulco final.

Ferrer has announced that he will end his glorious career next May at the Madrid Mutua Open. The Spaniard has won 27 ATP titles in his career and reached the quarter final in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

Ferrer lost his last four head-to-head matches against Zverev, who won their previous clash in Acapulco in straight sets a few weeks ago.

Zverev drew the first blood breeaking serve at love in the fourth game after a double fault from Ferrer. The Spaniard broke straight back on his third break point chance in the fifth game. Zverev broke twice in the sixth and eighth games to clinch the first set 6-2.

Ferrer bounced back breaking in the first game of the second set and held on his service games to open up a 4-2 lead. Zverev broke straight back in the eighth game and held serve on the second deuce in the fifth game to come within a game of the win at 6-2 5-4, but Ferrer bounced back by winning three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to win the second set 7-5 sending the match to the third set.

Ferrer saved a break point chance in the fourth game before earning a crucial break at love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ferrer held his next two service games and sealed the win with a double break at 30.

“It means a lot. It’s a special day because it’s the last year of professional tennis for me. Winning these types against a top 10 player like Sasha is a gift. I am very happy and I am trying to enjoy every point and every moment”, said Ferrer.

Ferrer will face Frances Tiafoe in the third round in their first head-to-head match. The 22-year-old player battled past Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) after two hours and 4 minutes. Kecmanovic went up a double break to open up a 4-1 lead, but Tiafoe won four consecutive games with two breaks in a row to take a 5-4 lead. Kecmanovic saved two break points to hold his serve in the 10th game. Tiafoe came back from 2-4 to win the tie-break 8-6. Tiafoe got an early break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Kecmanovic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Kecmanovic saved five break points in the seventh and ninth games to hold his service games. Tiafoe took the 7-5 edge to take the second tie-break despite cramps in his left leg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roger Federer digs deep to edge Radu Albot in Miami

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Three-time Miami Open champion Roger Federer had to dig deep to defeat Moldova’s Radu Albot 4-6 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 10 minutes in a hard-fought second round match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Radu Albot, who won his maiden ATP title in Delray Beach last February and arrived in Miami with a career high of world number 46, came very close to pull off the upset, but Federer fought hard to achieve his first come-back from a set down since Miami 2012.

Albot saved six of the eight break points he faced, including four in his first service game. Federer hit 14 aces and fended off three of the four break points he faced.

Albot earned an immediate break in the opening game, when Federer netted a forehand. Albot saved four break points in the second game to back up his break and held on his next service games. Albot hit three consecutive winners at 15 in the tenth game to clinch the first set 6-4 after 35 minutes.

Both players held their serve in the first six games of the second set. Federer saved a break point in the seventh game and earned a break point chance in the eighth game, but Albot fended it off. As the second set looked to be nearing a tie-break Federer finally clinched his first break in the 12th game with a backhand volley winner to close out the second set 7-5.

In the third set Albot earned a break point at 3-3 when Federer made a double fault. The 20-time Grand Slam champion saved it with three consecutive service winners. The Swiss legend earned his only break of the third set, when Albot sent a forehand long. Federer held serve at 15 with a service winner to secure his spot in the third round. Federer avoided his second consecutive second round defeat in Miami after losing to Thanasi Kokkinakis last year.

Federer will take on Filip Krajnovic, who beat Stan Wawrinka preventing the second all-Swiss third round match this month.

“I definitely think that Radu played a great match. It was really tough and I struggled early on. I am very relieved and happy to make it through. It was a great atmosphere”, said Federer.

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