Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TENNIS TUESDAY: Serena, Federer, Murray Win Titles; Ivanovic To Rise To World #5

Long May She Reign
Serena Williams ended her 2014 like she did the last three years: she won the last major of the year (the US Open) and also won the season-ending championships. This year she beat Simona Halep 6-3 6-0 to confirm her status as the #1 player in the world for 2014, surprisingly, she has only achieved the year-end #1 ranking three times before: 2002, 2009 and 2013. It's pretty incredible that at age 33 Serena is playing some of her best tennis and 2015 look like it could be a great year. (I expect her to win at least two majors).

Ivanovic Ends Year Ranked World #5; Most Wins On Tour With 58
While Serena is not exactly dominating the WTA Tour one thing that makes the women's tennis interesting to watch is the changing cast of characters who keep trying to challenge for the top of the game: Victoria Azarenka (injured), Li Na (retired), Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Genie Bouchard, Simona Halep and now Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic had a fantastic 2014, winning more matches on tour than anyone else (58), six more than Serena. She will be rewarded by ending the year at #5 in the World, her first time in the true elite of women's tennis since 2009. If she has solved her issues with mental toughness then Ivanovic has the game to challenge for majors in 2015.

Federer Wins Basel For 6th Time And Has World #1 In Sight
Federer played in his 11th final in his home town of Basel Switzerland this weekend and won his 6th title there, easily beating David Goffin 6-2 6-2. It was only Goffin's 3rd loss in his last 46 matches played (generally at smaller events on tour). The title was Federer's 82nd tour title, placing him 3rd on the all time list, behind Ivan Lendl's 94 (which I think Federer has a pretty good chance of reaching if he retires in 2016) and Jimmy Connors' incredible 109. He has an overall record of 82-41 in tour finals. More importantly, Djokovic is defending 2500 points in the next two tournaments. Federer has to earn 500 more points than Djokovic to become #1, that would probably entail beating him in atleast one of those finals, or Djokovic failing to reach one of the finals.

Murray Wins Match After Saving 5 Match Points Against Robredo. Again!
Andy Murray basically secured his place at the ATP World Tour Finals in London by winning his second title in as many weeks by defeating a Spanish dirtballer. The Scot won his 31st career titles (out of 45 finals) by coming back from 5 match points down to beat Tommy Robredo in one of the best matches of the year 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(8). With Nadal's season over and Murray currently at #5 on the list he is almost certain to qualify for London as long as he wins a match at the Paris Masters this week. This was Robredo's reaction at the net when the match was over:

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