World #1 Victoria Azarenka continues to assert her dominance over the rest of the tour, winning the China Open this week with ease. Photo by Cynthia Lum.
The end of the WTA season is looming, with the year end championships coming at the end of the month in Turkey. Let’s take a look at what’s happened since the US Open in the women’s game…
-Victoria Azarenka once again proved she (along with Serena Williams) are in a class by themselves over the rest of the tour, cruising through the draw to win the China Open without dropping a set. In fact, no set was closer than 6-4, including her win over world #2 Maria Sharapova in the final, 6-3 6-1. She’s won 15 of her last 16 matches (not counting her w/o in Tokyo) with her only loss coming in the US Open final against Serena, 7-5 in the third.
-Former world #3 Nadia Petrova got hot in Japan, taking down three top 10 players en route to her winning the Tokyo Open, her second WTA title of the year. This marks the first time that Petrova has beaten three top 10 players in the same tournament in her career. The rejuvenated 30-year-old Petrova has bigger visions after winning this title. “There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same.”
Laura Robson of Great Britain is a player to keep an eye on for 2013. Photo by Cynthia Lum.
-18-year-old Laura Robson is using the confidence she gained from winning the mixed doubles silver medal at the Olympics with Andy Murray to continue to vault up the rankings. She has won 10 of her last 13 matches going back to the US Open (including two top 10 wins at the Open) and is currently at a career high ranking of 56 in the world. Look for the youngster to keep improving and crack the top 20 real soon.
Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player ever to win the Japan Open last week. Look for the hard-hitting youngster to make a push for the top 10 next year.
The pro tour action is starting to pick back up again after the exciting conclusion to the US Open about a month ago. Let’s take a look at what’s happened on the pro tour over the last month…
-The United States Davis Cup team’s run was halted by Spain in the semifinals of the World Group. The pivotal match came in the second singles match, where Nicolas Almagro outlasted John Isner 6-4 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-5 to give the Spainards a 2-0 lead going into the doubles. Next month, Spain will look to repeat as champions as they take on the Czech Republic in the finals after the Czechs defeated Argentina 3-2 in the other semi.
-Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to win the Japan Open, taking down Milos Raonic 7-6 3-6 6-0. Nishikori used the energy from the hometown crowd to beat US Open semifinalist Tomas Berdych along the way, dictating play with his aggressive court positioning and thunderous groundstrokes off both wings.
Novak Djokovic won last week's China Open, dismantling Jo Wilfried Tsonga in the finals.
-Novak Djokovic won his third straight China Open title after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, 7-6 6-2. It was an even match until Novak just poked his head a bit in front in the first set tiebreak, and then it all began to unravel for the fiery Frenchman.
-The Shanghai Rolex Masters is underway, with 6 of the world’s top 10 players competing for $3.5 million in prize money and 1000 ATP ranking points on the line. Look for a Federer/Murray semifinal matchup if they can both make it through their respective sections of the draw. This will be the first time Roger Federer has played since his quarterfinal exit at the US Open.