Ubitennis.net reviews a great 2019 WTA season highlighted by the first Grand Slam title won by Ashleigh Barty at Roland Garros, the emergence of Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, the triumph of Simona Halep at Wimbledon and the second consecutive Grand Slam win by Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.
WTA Best player of the year: Ashleigh Barty
Ashleigh Barty moved up to the top of the WTA Ranking for the first time in her career last June after her maiden Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros and ended the season as the year-end world number 1. The 23-year-old from Ipswich became the first Australian player to win a singles Grand Slam title since Sam Stosur at the 2011 US Open and the first player from her country to win the Roland Garros singles title since Margaret Court in 1973.
Barty scored a tour-leading 56 victories and lifted the 2019 WTA Finals Trophy in Shenzhen on her debut after beating defending champion Elina Svitolina in the title match. Barty also won her first WTA Premier Mandatory title in Miami on hard court and the Birmingham Open title on grass. She reached another semifinal in Wuhan and finished runner-up at the China Open in Beijing.
The Aussie player also enjoyed a remarkable season in doubles by reaching the semifinals at the Miami Open with her teammate Victoria Azarenka. They lifted their first title as a team in Rome (a Premier 5 tournament). Barty and Azarenka reached another Premier 5 semifinal at the Canadian Open. They beat Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic in the quarter finals of the US Open en route to reaching the final, before losing to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
WTA Surprise of the Year: Bianca Andreescu
Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu enjoyed a very successful season, in which she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open and her first Premier Mandatory title at Indian Wells. The Canadian player of Romanian origin improved her ranking from world number 152 at the start of the year to number 107 after reaching the final in Auckland. The player from Mississauga (Ontario) continued her breakthrough season with a semifinal in Acapulco. She became the first wild-card to win the Indian Wells title and the first 18-year-old player to win this tournament since Serena Williams in 1999.
At the US Open Andreescu beat Serena Williams in straight sets to become the first Canadian player to win a Grand Slam title and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Maria Sharapova won the 2006 US title.
Grand Slam queens: Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka
The 2019 season will be remembered by tennis fans for the achievements of Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, who won their second Grand Slam titles respectively at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon.
Osaka lifted her second consecutive Grand Slam trophy after winning the Australian Open final against Petra Kvitova. The triumph at Melbourne Park followed up her win over Serena Williams in the US Open final in September 2018. Last January Osaka became the first Asian player to be ranked number 1 in the world in singles. Osaka also won two more titles at the Pan Pacific Open in her hometown of Osaka and at the China Open in Beijing.
Simona Halep won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon after beating Serena Williams in the final. The Romanian star had already won a Major trophy at the 2018 French Open. Halep reached the Wimbledon final as the seventh seeded player, but dropped only one set in the second round against her compatriot Michaela Buzarnescu. She beat Elina Svitolina to reach her fifth Grand Slam final. Halep had previously won just once in her ten head-to-head matches against Serena Williams, but the Romanian player won the Wimbledon final in under an hour dropping just two games in each set. Becoming the first Romanian player to win a Wimbledon singles title. During the 2019 WTA season Halep lost the Madrid Mutua Open final to Kiki Bertens and reached two semifinals in Doha and Miami.
Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo
The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.
Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’
The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.
Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.
“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”
The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.
“She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.
The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.
During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’
“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”
Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics
The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.
The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.
” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “
The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.
Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.
Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.
The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.
The 2021 Wimbledon Leaderboard: Women’s Edition
UbiTennis takes a look at the numbers behind the women’s draw to discover which player stood out when it came to service speed, double faults produced, return winners and other areas.
On Saturday the women’s singles draw at Wimbledon concluded with Ash Barty defeating Karolina Pliskova in three sets to become the first Australian woman to win the title since 1980.
The triumph follows what has been a tournament which has seen its fair share of drama. Ranging from Serena Williams’ heartbreaking retirement due to injury to an on-court spat between Jelena Ostapenko and Ajla Tomljanović. For home fans, British wildcard Emma Raducanu stunned the draw by reaching the fourth round in what was only her second WTA event before having to pull out of the event due to breathing difficulties.
It has been an eventful fortnight at The All England Club but what players have excelled at the tournament and in what area? UbiTennis takes a closer look at the best performing players in this year’s draw based on statistical data produced by IBM.
Who produced the most aces?
1. Pliskova – 60
2. Barty – 53
3. Sabalenka – 52
4. Rybakina – 32
5. Gauff – 29
6. Jabeur – 25
=7. Muchova – 22
=7. Keys – 22
=7. Badosa – 22
The player with the most double faults
1. Pliskova – 35
2. Barty – 32
=3. Sabalenka – 26
=3. Badosa – 26
5. Samsonova – 20
=6. Siniakova – 18
=6. Ostapenko – 18
=6. Krejčíková – 18
=9. Raducanu– 17
=9. Kerber – 17
1. kerber def Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 (3 hrs 19)
2. Ahn def Watson 2-6, 7-6(3), 8-6 (3 hrs 3)
3. Golubic def Kudermetova 3-6, 6-1, 11-9 (2 hrs 45)
4. Liu def Doi 2-6, 6-3, 9-7 (2 hrs 42)
5. Brengle def McHale 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 (2 hrs 40)
6. V. Williams def Buzarnescu 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 (2 hrs 37)
7. Begu def Martic 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-3 (2 hrs 34)
8. Krejcikova def Sevastova 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-5 (2 hrs 34)
9. Martic def Gracheva 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3 (2 hrs 29)
10. Boulter def Lao 6-7(6) 6-3, 6-4 (2 hrs 28)
Note: women’s final between Barty and Pliskova was the joint 29th longest match of the tournament
1. Gauff 125 mph
2. Sabalenka 122 mph
3. Samsonova 121 mph
=4. Giorgi 119 mph
=4. Rybakina 119 mph
6. Mertens 117 mph
=7. Keys 116 mph
=7. Pliskova 116 mph
=9. Barty 115 mph
=9. Badosa 115 mph
Most hawk-eye challenges made
1. Jabeur – 20 (30% success rate)
=2. Sabalenka – 15 (46.7% success rate)
=2. Cirstea – 15 (20% success rate)
=4. Pliskova – 14 (35.7% success rate)
=4. Barty – 14 (35.7% success rate)
=4. Badosa – 14 (0% success rate)
=7. Tomljanovic – 11 (27.3%success rate)
=7. Ostapenko – 11 (27.3% success rate)
=7. Kerber – 11 (27.3% success rate)
10. Raducanu – 10 (20% success rate)
Most return winners
1. Sabalenka – 27
=2. Pliskova – 16
=2. Ostapenko – 16
=2. Jabeur – 16
=5. Samsonova – 13
=5. Keys – 13
=7. Rybakina – 10
=7. Azarenka – 10
9. Kudermetova – 9
10. Kerber – 9
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