Tuesday, August 23, 2016
TENNIS TUESDAY: Cilic Wins Cincy; Serena Will Tie Graf's #1 Record; Stevie Is A Top; #Santina Splits
MARIN CILIC WINS FIRST MASTERS SHIELD BY BEATING ANDY MURRAY IN CINCINNATI
2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic became only the fifth player since 2010 other than the Big Four (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal) to win an ATP Masters shield event by beating Murray 7-5 6-4. The other four are Robin Soderling (Paris 2010), David Ferrer (Paris 2012), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Toronto 2014), Stan Wawrinka (Monte-Carlo 2014). Murray was hoping to continue his 22-match winning streak after triumphing at the 2016 Wimbledon championships and 2016 Rio Olympics this summer. Not only was this Cilic's first Masters 1000 win, it was the first time he had even reached the semifinal of a masters in 8 previous tries.
SERENA WILLIAMS WILL TIE STEFFI GRAF'S RECORD OF 186 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS AT #1 BUT FOUR PLAYERS WILL VIE FOR #1 IN NEW YORK
By Angelique Kerber losing in straight sets to Karolina Pliskova in the Cincinnati Final, World #1 Serena Williams will remain at #1 for three more weeks and tie Steffi Graf's record of 186 consecutive weeks at #1. However, to break the record Serena will probably need to win the 2016 US Open (which would also simultaneously surpass Graf's major singles title haul of 22) because she is defending semifinal points from the 2015 US Open and none of her rivals: Garbine Muguruza, Agnieska Radwanska or Kerber have very many points to defend. Theoretically any of these four could conceivably be #1 on Monday September 12th. The most exciting scenario would have Serena and Kerber facing off for the #1 ranking in the final.
STEVIE JOHNSON IS THE NEW #1 AMERICAN MALE PLAYER
Fresh off of winning the Men's Doubles Bronze medal with partner Jack Sock (who also won the Mixed Doubles Gold with Bethanie Mattek-Sands) Stevie Johnson is now the highest ranked male American player by reaching the #21 spot on the ATP rankings while John Isner (who had been the top-ranked American since July 2013) fell to #22 with Sock at #28 and Giant-Killer Sam Querrey at #31. This also means that there i no American male in the Top 20 of the ATP World rankings while on the women's side there are three American women in the Top 10: Serena (#1), Venus Williams (#6), Madison Keys (#9).
MARTINA HINGIS AND SANIA MIRZA SPLIT UP, FACED EACH OTHER IN CINCY
During the Rio Olympics it was confirmed that despite winning 3 grand slam titles, the 2015 Year-end championships and a 41-match winning streak in the last 18 month, the doubles team of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have decided to split up. (They have agreed to play the 2016 year-end championships together, having already qualified!) Awkwardly, the two former partners faced each other in the very first tournament after the Olympics in the Cincinnati finals, and the team of Mirza and Coco Vandeweghe defeated Hingis with Barbora Strycova.
US OPEN SEEDS REVEALED: WILLIAMS, DJOKOVIC SEEDED #1
The seeds for the U.S. OPEN have been revealed, and the only notable absences are 2015 Champion Flavia Pennetta who retired soon afterwards, Victoria Azarenka who is pregnant. On the men's side Roger Federer (is missing the rest of 2016 with injury) and Tomas Berdych has appendicitis.