On September 26, 22-major champion Serena Williams turned 35 years old. Although she is no longer the #1 ranked player in the world, she is still a formidable force in tennis. She is more focused on chasing tennis history as she seeks to break her tie with Steffi Graf's for the most major singles titles in the Open era. The question is will she even play a match for the rest of the year? She has pulled out of the Asian swing, but not the year-end championships in Singapore, yet.
DAVIS CUP FINAL SET: ARGENTINA VERSUS CROATIA, AFTER BEATING GREAT BRITAIN & FRANCE
Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray had an epic first rubber match which ended up being the decider in which of their countries would reach the Davis Cup final for 2016. Del Potro won the 5-hour, high-quality match 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4. Murray was able to win two points for his team in the tie but the rest of the team was unable to contribute (apart from his brother in the doubles). Argentina will face Croatia in the final after Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig paired up and defeated the #1 doubles team in the world, Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut and Cilic was able to win both his singles matches, beating Richard Gasquet and Lucas Pouille relatively easily (losing one set and winning 6). The Davis Cup final will be in Zagreb, Croatia November 25-27.
CZECH MATE! KVITOVA AND BERDYCH WIN 1ST TITLES OF 2016 IN ASIA
When she's on, she's very on. In Wuhan Petra Kvitova played two of her best matches in a row all-year long to blast through Simona Halep in the semis and Dominka Cibulkova in the final after earlier outlasting World #1 Angie Kerber in a 3-hour 3-set epic. Kvitova lost just 5 games in four sets in the last two rounds to win her first title of the year. Fellow Czech also salvaged his 2016 season by outlasting Richard Gasquet in 3 sets to win the Shenzhen Open, just 5 weeks after having surgery to remove his appendix, which caused him to skip the US Open.
#NEXTGEN BREAKTHROUGH: KHACHANOV, ZVEREV, POUILLE WIN TITLES
20-year old Karen Khachanov, 19-year-old Sascha Zverev and 22-year-old Lucas Pouille all won their first ATP tour titles recently. Khachanov beat Alberto Ramos-Vinolas in Chengdu, while Zverev beat reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka in St. Petersburg and Pouille beat fellow #NextGen Dominc Thiem in Metz. The most impressive of these wins is Zverev, since not only is he the youngest of the three but he beat the toughest competition. However, Pouille is the highest ranked of the bunch at #16, but Zverev is not that far behind at #24.
SHARAPOVA SUSPENSION REDUCED TO 15 MONTHS ON APPEAL; COULD PLAY 2017 FRENCH OPEN
The result of Maria Sharapova's appeal of her 2-year-suspension for using a banned substance (meldonium) was announced just minutes ago. Her ban has been reduced to 15 months, and since she has not played since January 2016 (the end of the Australian Open), she could be on court in time fo the 2017 clay court season and play in Madrid, Rome and Paris. It was very possible if the fine had not been reduced, then the 5-time major champion would have announced her retirement. It will be interesting to see how a then 30-year-old Maria will fare against the likes of Kerber, Pliskova and Muguruza after such a long absence.