Another great day of tennis today!
First, Na Li beat Agniezka Radwanska in a high level match. A lot of long rallies with the better end for Na Li with a score of 7/5 6/3. The former coach of Justine Henin seems to really have a positive impact on her! Li’s husband has been doing a lot of roadwork in the past years especially since Na’s former coach Thomas Hogsted switched to work with Maria Sharapova. Carlos Rodriguez, Na Li’s current coach, has been with her since shortly before the US Open 2012. You can really see that he has certain things he wants his players to do during a match. Na Li is definitely playing more offensive meaning she is going to the net or at least playing a couple of swing volleys after the opponent has been pushed into the corner.
Another 5 set match was played by the two Spanish players, Almagro and Ferrer. They were battling each other out there for hours. Almagro was up two sets to love serving for the match at 5/4 in the third but couldn’t serve it out. Ferrer grinded his way back into the match to win in five sets 4/6 4/6 7/5 7/6 6/2.
With the 2012 WTA campaign coming to an end, I wanted to post my end of the year Power Rankings. Just like in football and basketball, these don’t exactly follow the official rankings, but are reflective of who I feel is playing the best tennis to close the year and head into 2013. Without further ado, I give you…
2012 Year End WTA Power Rankings
Power Ranking. Name (WTA Ranking)
1. Serena Williams (3)
When she’s at her best, there’s no woman in the world that can beat her, and for the last half of the year she’s been on fire! Since her first round loss at the French Open, she’s 32-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open, and the year end WTA Championships (among other titles). There’s no question she’s the best in the world as the year comes to a close.
2. Victoria Azarenka (1)
There’s no debate who the second best player in the world is. Vika has dominated the rest of the tour, with a 69-5 record on the year against players that aren’t named Serena. The feisty 23-year-old from Belarus reached two Grand Slam finals this year and won one of them (Australian). Look for her to build on her best year as a pro in 2013.
3. Maria Sharapova (2)
Maria has quietly put together a very nice year, with a 60-11 record and a French Open title to complete her career Grand Slam. She also reached the finals at 7 other major tournaments this year and beat Vika Azarenka twice, the only player other than Serena to do that this year.
4. Na Li (7)
She didn’t perform well at the majors this year, but Na Li has had a nice second half of the year and given the rest of the Top 10 fits. Since the start of the summer hard court season, she’s 6-2 against the rest of the Top 10 outside of the Top 3, and took the title in Cincinnati.
5. Agnieszka Radwanska (4)
The young Pole had an excellent start of the year, and after all is said and done, is finishing the year with 59 match wins, good for 4th best on tour. She’d be higher on the list if Na Li hadn’t beat her three times since August.
6. Sara Errani (6)
The 5’4″ Italian built on her surprise French Open finals appearance and turned in an even bigger surprise semifinal appearance at the US Open. She also took home 4 singles titles and 8 doubles titles this year, along with $3 million in prize money. Not a bad 2012!
7. Angelique Kerber (5)
She’s one of three players to reach the 60 win mark this year, and the only person to beat Serena in the second half of the year. However, she’s struggled for the most part against the best, with a 3-10 against the rest of the Top 10 since the start of Wimbledon. On the bright side, this is the first year the big hitting lefty will finish inside the Top 30.
8. Nadia Petrova (12)
Ever since losing close to Maria Sharapova at the US Open (6-4 in the third), she’s been on a tear, winning two titles and posting a 12-2 record to finish the year. She’s hot and one to watch for at the beginning of 2013.
9. Caroline Wozniacki (10)
She might be better known for being the First Lady of the PGA Tour this year rather than her on-court results, but Woz has quietly closed 2012 with a flurry. Since the US Open, she’s won two titles and reached the finals of the third tournament, and is gaining momentum going into 2013.
10. Marion Bartoli (11)
The French veteran has been streaky all year, but she had two of her best tournaments at the US Open and in Beijing to finish the year. She’s been hovering around the top 10 for years, and continues to be a threat if the best aren’t at the top of their games.
Thanks for reading!
The WTA year end championships begins today in Istanbul, Turkey, with the top 8 players competing in a round robin format. There are two groups (Red and White) of four players each, with the top two from each group moving into the semifinals. The Red Group is loaded up with world #1 Victoria Azarenka, red hot Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber (the tour’s leader in match wins this year), and Na Li. In the White Group, Maria Sharapova headlines with Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Sara Errani.
In other news…
–Venus Williams won her first title since February of 2010, defeating Monica Niculescu in the Luxembourg final 6-2 6-3 this past weekend. It’s her 44th career title, the second-most among active players behind only her sister Serena.
–Caroline Wozniacki won her 20th career title at the Kremlin Cup last week, defeating Samantha Stosur in a riveting final, 6-2 4-6 7-5. Caroline built up a 6-2 4-3 lead, but the Aussie came storming back, winning five straight games, winning the second set and taking an early lead in the 3rd. ‘Woz hung tough and battled back to take the deciding third set.
Stay tuned this week as the world’s best battle it out in Turkey for the year end championships! Thanks for reading!