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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Kei Nishikori completes his third came-back win to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Kei Nishikori won his third five-set match at this year’s edition of the Australian Open by completing his third come-back from two sets down with a 6-7 (8-10) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (10-8) win over Pablo Carreno Busta after a 5-hour and 5-minute battle.

Kei Nishikori lived up to his reputation as a marathon man, when he completed his third come-from-behind win at the 2019 Australian Open following up his previous two five-set wins over Kamil Majchrzak and Ivo Karlovic.

Carreno Busta went down a break twice in the early stages of the opening set, but he managed to pull back both breaks in the fourth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Nishikori got an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead, but Carreno Busta won three consecutive points for 3-2 after three errors from Nishikori. The Spaniard did not convert three set points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7, but he converted his fourth chance for 10-8 with a forehand winner.

Carreno Busta went up a set and a break with two forehand winners in the third game before saving two break points at 2-1. The Spanish player did not convert two set points at 5-3, when he made two forehand errors as Nishikori was serving at 15-40, but he closed out the second set at love in the 10th game.

Nishikori went down a break in the fifth game of the third set, but he broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Nishikori won the tie-break 7-4 to keep his hopes alive Nishikori broke serve in the first game of the fourth set at 30, but Carreno Busta broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Nishikori broke for the second time in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and earned three break points for 5-2 in the seventh game, but Carreno Busta held his serve. Nishikori held his next three service games at love to seal the fourth set 6-4.

Nishikori converted his third break point chance in the third game of the fifth set to take a 2-1 lead. The Japanese player came back from 15-40 down in the sixth game to hold his serve at deuce for 4-2, but he dropped his serve while he was serving for the match in the 10th game at 5-4. Carreno Busta built up a 8-5 lead in the decisive super tie-break, but Nishikori reeled off the final five points to seal a thrilling five-set match.

“I don’t know what to say. That was the toughest match. I have no idea how I broke back and I fough my way through. It was a great match. I feel like I have not played enough. It hasn’t been easy of course, especially not today. It was hard against Karlovic with a super tie-break, but today had longer rallies”, said Nishikori.

The Japanese star will face Novak Djokovic, who beat Danil Medvedev 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-2 in his fourth round match. Djokovic leads 15-2 in his 17 head-to-head matches against Nishikori.

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Novak Djokovic Outlasts Medvedev To Reach 10th Australian Open Quarter-Final

Novak Djokovic is into his 10th Australian Open quarter-final with a four set physical win over Daniil Medvedev.

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is into his 10th Australian Open quarter-final after a 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3 win over Daniil Medvedev. 

The six time champion was less than convincing but dug deep to seal his place in the last eight with a four set win over Medvedev.

In the quarter-finals he will now play Kei Nishikori who battled past Pablo Carreno Busta in five hours and five sets.

The Serb was looking to play better than his previous round against an in-form and crafty Medvedev, who won the most matches on hard courts in 2018.

After a decent start from the Russian, a few loose errors gave the Djokovic key break in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. The 15th seed continued to work the angles throughout the contest and punished Djokovic’s lack of focus as he gained the break back in the ninth game.

Eventually though the top seed refocused and broke straight back as he sealed the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes as he looked to build on his lead.

It was more of the same from Djokovic as he controlled the points from the baseline. Despite not converting any of his six break points in the third game he eventually raced to a 4-1 lead.

However there is a reason why Medvedev won 38 matches on hard courts last season and he immediately found a response by breaking back and making the match into a physically exhausting battle.

As a tiebreak loomed the Russian produced his best tennis moving the Serb from side to side as he powered through his shots.

After overcoming some nerves, the world number 16 converted his third set point to take the second set in a brutal 71 minutes.

The match continued to get more physical as rallies between 30 and 40 shots occurred as Medvedev’s craft was earning some good points.

However the Russian started to fade out as Djokovic proved to be the stronger competitor in the third and four sets despite some heavy stretching from the world number one.

Two breaks of serve was enough for Djokovic to take a two sets to one lead with a tactically good match saving his chances of reaching the last eight.

In another late finish in Melbourne park, Djokovic broke twice more in set four as Medvedev vented his frustrations as the Serb came through a tough match in four sets.

The win means it’s the tenth time Djokovic has reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and after the match explained how difficult the match was, “It was difficult to go through him. I had to find a different way,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

“I was fortunate to save a couple of break points. In this kind of matches you have to hang in there and wait for your opportunities.”

Next up on Wednesday is Kei Nishikori after he won a five set epic with Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7(8) 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 7-6(10-8).

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Lucas Pouille beats Borna Coric in four sets to set up a quarter final against Milos Raonic in Melbourne

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Lucas Pouille upset Borna Coric in four sets by the scoreline of 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 7-6 (7-2) after 3 hours and 15 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Pouille set up a quarter final against Canadian player Milos Raonic, who beat Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-1 7-6 (7-5). The Frenchman has not won a single set in his three head-to-head matches against Raonic.

Coric broke serve in the first game of the opening set, but Pouille pulled back the break in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players held serve in the next games to set up a tie-break. Coric converted the first of his two set points at 6-4 in the tie-break with his ninth ace to close out the first set.

Pouille got the only break in the seventh game of the second set to draw level to 1 set apiece after Coric made his fourth double fault the match and a forehand error.

Both players held their serve in the first ten games of the third set. Coric went down 0-40 on serve in the 11th game, but he managed to saved the first two break points. Pouille converted his third opportunity with a forehand winner to seal the third set 7-5.

Pouille got an immediate break in the first game of the fourth set. Coric converted his fourth break-back point chance at deuce to draw level to 4-4 setting up a second tie-break. Pouille sealed the win on his first match point, when Coric made his 55th unforced error of the match.

Pouille fired 57 winners and won 66 % of his second serve points.

Lucas Pouille has become the 13th French player to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open and the first since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2017. The Frenchman reached the third quarter final at Grand Slam level in his career after Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016.

Pouille lost in the first round for the fifth consecutive year at the 2018 edition of the Australian Open and won his fifth title in Montpellier against his compatriot Richard Gasquet after saving two match points in the semifinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Pouille reached a career-high of world number 10 after advancing to his third ATP Tour level final in Dubai, where he lost against Roberto Bautista Agut. After a difficult second half of the season Pouille hired Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach.

“It feels great. It has been a tough match against Borna. He is one of the best players in the world. The last time we played I lost 6-4 in the third set, so I knew what to expect. A few points here and there. In the first tie-break I had 5-4 and made two lets and the ball went out. It was just a few details that made the difference. I am now very happy to be in the quarter final. The atmosphere is great here. In the previous round I played against Popyrin, an Australian guy, and the atmosphere was just electric”,said Pouille.

Pouille has not won a set in his three head-to-head matches against his next rival Milos Raonic and lost in straight sets against the Canadian player in their previous head-to-head match at the 2016 Australian Open.

“He is playing well. I watched the match against Alexander Zverev. I am going to be ready for it and try to reach my first semifinal”,said Pouille.

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