November 29, 2015

Bryans, Chung, Djokovic, Federer, Paire & Zverev Honored In 2015 ATP World Tour Awards

(November 11, 2015) ATP World Tour, LONDON — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Bob and Mike Bryan have been honoured in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. While the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates Award is still to be decided between four teams, all the other award winners have been announced today.

Djokovic receives the ATP World Tour No. 1 award presented by Emirates for a second straight year and fourth time overall, following an unbroken stint at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings since 7 July 2014.

Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for an 11th time and by fans as the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 13th straight year. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 31 ATP World Tour Awards.

The Bryan twins are the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for their off-court philanthropy with their charitable foundation, Bryan Bros, raising money for dozens of beneficiaries. They also take home the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 11th time and remain in contention for the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates.

The 18-year-old Alexander Zverev wins the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates for being the youngest player ranked in the Top 100, while players have voted Hyeon Chung as the Most Improved Player of the Year and recognised Benoit Paire as the Comeback Player of the Year.

Players will receive their awards in on-court ceremonies at The O2 throughout the tournament week.

Well-known writer Linda Pearce of The Age (Melbourne, Australia) is the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award while the ATP Tournament of the Year awards will be announced in 2016.

Visit the ATP World Tour Awards section on


ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Novak Djokovic: The 28-year-old Serbian has become the sixth player to clinch the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Rankings on four or more occasions, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras (six years), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (five years), Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe (four years). In 2015, Djokovic reached all four Grand Slams finals (3-1 record), eight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament finals, winning titles in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Shanghai and Paris. He also lifted the Beijing trophy among 14 finals. He comes to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 78-5 match record, the sixth time in eight years he’s reached at least 70 wins.

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)
Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau, Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo, and Jamie Murray & John Peers will battle to finish as the No. 1 duo in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Bryans have won the award 10 times overall (2003, ‘05-07, ‘09-14).

ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Alexander Zverev: This category in its third year, replacing the player-voted Newcomer of the Year, is awarded to the youngest player in the Top 100 of Emirates ATP Rankings as of 9 November. Zverev, who began the season ranked No. 136, broke into the Top 100 on 18 May and reached a career-high No. 74 on 29 June. The 18-year-old German reached the Bastad semi-finals and the Washington, D.C. quarter-finals. He also won one ATP Challenger Tour title at Heilbronn.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Hyeon Chung: The 19-year-old Korean climbed more than 120 places from No. 173 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the start of the year, winning four titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2015. He also reached the Shenzhen quarter-finals and is currently at a career-high of No. 51.

Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Benoit Paire:  A knee injury and long months of inactivity in 2014, saw the Frenchman drop out of the Top 150 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but in 2015 he produced a dramatic resurgence. He captured his first ATP World Tour title at Bastad in July to become the first player since Steve Darcis in 2007 to win an ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Future title in the same season. He recorded his first Top 5 win over No. 4-ranked Kei Nishikori in the US Open first round and went on to finish runner-up at Tokyo where he beat Nishikori again in the semi-finals. He is currently at a career-high No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship
(voted by ATP players)
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 11th time and fifth year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Kevin Anderson were also nominated in this category.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year
(awarded by ATP)
Bob and Mike Bryan: The Californian twins have shown the same commitment to their off-court philanthropy, with their charitable foundation, Bryan Bros, raising money for dozens of beneficiaries. The foundation’s mission is to “support and grow the dreams of children”, which it does by “identifying and supporting charities and causes that help at-risk youth survive and thrive”. Tennis is at the core of what the brothers’ foundation does, as it “promotes the ideals of sport, and tennis in particular, to emphasize the values of hard work, dedication and perseverance”. Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The Swiss has been voted Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 13th straight year, receiving 65 per cent of all votes cast. Rafael Nadal finished in second, followed by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori. Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The Bryan twins received 35 per cent of votes to be named the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 11th time. Australian Open champions Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini came in as the second most popular duo, followed by Jamie Murray and John Peers in third place.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence
(awarded by ATP)
Linda Pearce: The Melbourne-based sports writer covered her first Grand Slam in 1988. As the long-time chief tennis writer for The Age, she has since covered almost 50 majors, as well as four Davis Cup finals, multiple Olympic Games. She has won multiple media awards as a news and feature writer.


Novak Djokovic Three-peats at Paris Masters for Tenth Title of the Year

(November 8, 2015) Novak Djokovic claimed his third straight Paris Masters title, a record fourth overall for his 10 tournament victory of the year when he beat Andy Murray 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday.

The World No. 1 now has 58 titles in his career, 26 in Masters Series 1000 events, two behind record holder Rafael Nadal. The 10-time major champion has set a record for winning six ATP Masters events in a season. He is currently on a 22-match winning streak.

“There was couple of games in the second set where Andy started turning things around, so things could have gone different way as they did maybe yesterday against (Stan) Wawrinka at same stage,” Djokovic said. “But I managed to stay tough. It was, all in all, the best performance of the week, and it came at the right time.”
“Congratulations to Novak,” Murray said after the match. “It’s been a great year for him. It’s been a great week for me – first time past the quarterfinals. That’s progress and I hope to be back next year.”
“I think I was very solid from the very first point, really protecting the baseline, trying to be the one that dictates the play,” said the Serb who is having a career year. “I think in terms of physical and mental ability, I have reached my peak.”

Djokovic is now 21-9 against Murray overall. He’s won 10 of the last 11 head-to-head battles.

Next stop for both Djokovic and Murray will be The O2 Arena in London for the ATP World Tour Finals.

“I’m hoping that I can repeat the kind of performances and success I have had (at the ATP World Tour Finals) in previous years,” Djokovic said. (The O2 Arena) is a great stage for a tennis tournament.”

The ATP World Tour year end event begins on November 15.


With Title Win in Zhuhai, Venus Williams Returns to the WTA Top Ten


(November 8, 2015) Venus Williams ended her 2015 season by reaching the Top Ten for the first time in four years, when the 35-year-old top seed defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 7-6 (6) to win the WTA Elite Trophy on Sunday in Zhuhai.

Williams held off a set point against the Czech in the second set tiebreak and secured the win. For Williams it’s her third WTA trophy of the year, also taking titles in Wuhan and Auckland.

“I’m so excited to win the first trophy in Zhuhai,” Williams said on court after the match. “All the players felt so welcome here and we appreciated all of the enthusiasm. To see every seat filled for every match, that’s all the players and tournament hope for.”

“I was really lucky to win at the end.”

The Zhuhai event had 11 of the top players who did not qualify for last week’s WTA Finals tournament in Singapore which hosted 8 of the top ten players.


Paris BNP Paribas Masters Results

ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Paris, France (+1 hour GMT)
2-8 November 2015 Surface: Indoor Hard


Singles – Semi-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 63 36 60
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [8] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 63

Doubles – Semi-finals
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d [PR] T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 46 63 10-5
V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) 76(6) 61


COURT CENTRAL start 12:15 pm
V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) (Watch Live)

3:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)


WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Results

$ 2,150,000
NOVEMBER 03 – 08, 2015

Singles – Semifinals
[1] V. Williams (USA) d [4] R. Vinci (ITA) 62 62
[3] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [8] E. Svitolina (UKR) 63 61

Doubles – Round Robin – Group A
[4] [WC] C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN) d [1] K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A. Klepac (SLO) 76(6) 63

Round Robin – Group B
[2] A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) d [3] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 63 62

STADIUM start 4:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – [1] V. Williams (USA) vs [3] K. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 6:00 pm
DOUBLES FINAL – [2] A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [4] [WC] C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN)


USTA Foundation to Host First Los Angeles Pro-Am Fundraiser


(November 6, 2015) – The USTA Foundation and USTA Foundation Chairman of the Board, former world No. 4 men’s singles player James Blake announced world No. 30 women’s singles player Sloane Stephens and world No. 37 women’s singles player Coco Vandeweghe will be joined by a field of tennis players and celebrities for the foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am to be held on Sunday, November 8 in Brentwood.


The event, co-hosted by Blake and International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, will fund the USTA Foundation’s commitment to improving the quality of life among the nation’s youth, military heroes and individuals with disabilities through tennis and education. This is the first time the USTA Foundation will host a fundraiser on the west coast.


Joining Stephens and Vandeweghe are International Tennis Hall of Famer, former world No. 1 and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, and Justin Gimelstob, a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion. Also slated to participate is Katrina Adams, a former world top 10 doubles player and current Chairman, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association. Celebrities who will participate include Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue, Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel, who are both stars of CBS’ hit show “Scorpion.” and former college tennis standout and FOX “Last Man On Earth,” star Boris Kodjoe.


Participants from Ramp Up, a Los Angeles-based chapter of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, will serve as ballpersons for the tournament. The organization is one of the USTA Foundation’s premier after-school tennis and education programs.


The Pro-Am will be followed by a reception bringing together tennis stars, icons, enthusiasts and celebrities, all to support the work of the USTA Foundation in combining tennis and education to aid those in need. The event will include a live auction featuring exclusive, one-of-a-kind packages and experiences, including a signed racquet by Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and tickets to the 2016 US Open and World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden in March.


“I am excited to join an amazing lineup of participants with my friends Pam and Sloane for the USTA Foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am,” said Blake. “It’s great to have so many people lend their time in support of our mission in positively changing lives through the combination of tennis and education. Because I know firsthand how tennis and education programs encourage many of our youth to reach their fullest potential, I’m honored to get back out on the courts and compete for a tremendous cause that will have a lasting impact on future champions.”


Individual player packages including private hitting sessions are available at


To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $19 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs and college scholarships, and has impacted more than 200,000 military service members, veterans and their families through its outreach programs.


“Fedal” Part 34 – Roger Federer Snaps Five-Match Losing Streak Against Rafael Nadal to Win Seventh Basel Title


Federer-Nadal by Rosemary Nardone

(November 1, 2015) In their first match-up since the 2014 Australian Open semifinals, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Swiss Indoors final 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in Basel. For the Swiss competing in his 10th straight Basel final, the win which gave him his seventh trophy in his hometown, broke a five-match losing streak against the 14-time major champion Nadal. This was Federer’s 12th Basel final. Nadal leads their overall head-to-head record 23-11.

“It was a very special day,” said Federer, who was once a ballboy at the tournament. “Probably it was my best victory here in Basel.”

“I lost but I was close to winning, very close,” said Nadal.

Federer hit 12 aces, 44 winners with 32 unforced errors going 3 for 7 on break points during the two-hour and two minute match.

“It was one of my best weeks in Basel, considering everything I’ve done throughout my career here,” Federer said after the match. “I thought the match was close. I had my chances in the second, but he fought back well, like he’s done throughout the week really. Overall I was really happy how I played.
“I know I’ve had better backhand days and he’s had better forehand days than today, but the match was high quality and it was entertaining and exciting for both of us as well. The confidence is good, no doubt about that. It’s good to get back into the mood of winning after Shanghai… I think the body’s gotten used to match play again after all these weeks of not playing.”


This 88th overall tennis title for Federer, now marks the fifth tournament which he has won at least seven times – Halle (8), Wimbledon (7), Dubai (7) and Cincinnati (7).

This is the sixth championship trophy he’s collected this year, adding to this titles in Brisbane, Dubai, Istanbul, Halle and Cincinnati.

Despite the loss in the final, Nadal had good week, taking down former Top 10 players Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet all in a row to reach the final. He will see his ranking move up from No. 7.

“It’s good news for me,” said the Spaniard. “Today I have been very competitive against one of the best players in the world. And on the toughest surface for me.”

“My goal is to get back to my level and be competitive against the top players again and today I was very competitive against one of the best players in the world,” Nadal said. “The match wasn’t far away from me. He played well and I played well too. The match was very close to win, but I think he served very well in the third. I want to congratulate him for the victory and I had a lot of quality things in my game and mental side to take away from the week.”

Next stop for both men will be the Paris Masters Series event, followed by the ATP World Tour Finals in London.


Davis Cup Results: Barbados, Slovenia and Sweden Remain in Zone Group I in 2016


(November 1, 2015) The ITF has announced the final results for the three Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Zone Group I second round play-off ties taking place on 30 October-1 November.


Barbados, Slovenia and Sweden will all remain in Zone Group I in 2016, while Denmark, Lithuania and Uruguay have all been relegated to 2016 Zone Group II.


The draw for the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group II and Europe/Africa Zone Group II will be held at the ITF offices in London at 10:00 GMT on Tuesday 3 November. The seeds will be based on the new ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking of 2 November






Venue:  National Tennis Centre, St. Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)


Santiago Maresca (URU) d. Seanon Williams (BAR) 62 62 61
Darian King (BAR) d. Rodrigo Arus (URU) 61 63 36 61
Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Rodrigo Arus/Santiago Maresca (URU) 62 62 62
Darian King (BAR) d. Santiago Maresca (URU) 76(6) 62 60
Nicolas Xiviller (URU) d. Russell Moseley (BAR) 61 64




SWEDEN defeated DENMARK 3-2

Venue: Antvorskovhallen, Slagelse, DEN (hard – indoor)
Markus Eriksson (SWE) d. Andreas Bjerrehus (DEN) 67(5) 67(5) 76(3) 76(3) 97
Mikael Ymer (SWE) d. Frederik Nielsen (DEN) 75 63 64
Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Johan Brunstrom/Fred Simonsson (SWE) 67(3) 62 76(5) 76(9)
Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 62 76(2) 76(8)
Mikael Ymer (SWE) d. Christian Sigsgaard (DEN) 64 60 36 57 62



Venue: Teniski Klub Triglav Kranj, Kranj, SLO (hard – indoor)
Grega Zemlja (SLO) d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 63 75 62
Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 76(6) 62 62
Blaz Kavcic/Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Laurynas Grigelis/Lukas Mugevicius (LTU) 64 76(1) 64
Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Lukas Mugevicius (LTU) 62 62
Tom Kocevar-Desman (SLO) d. Tadas Babelis (LTU) 62 26 64



Agnieszka Radwanska Triumphs in Singapore to Win WTA Finals Crown


By Ros Satar

(November 1, 2015) SINGAPORE – It is fair to say this was a title that no-one was expecting at the start of the week, as Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova took to the court. This was going to be the first time anyone with a 1-2 record in the round robin phase of the WTA Finals would go on to lift the championship trophy.


But all that needed to be put aside, especially for Kvitova, who quickly found herself down a break at the start of the opening set. Steadying the nerves to at least get on the board, it was going to be important for her to stay in contention, against an in-form Radwanska – who was ready to punish any careless generosity of points from the Czech.


The first set was completely out of her reach in 33 minutes as Radwanska’s control versus Kvitova’s errors told the story in the score line of 6-2. If ever there was a time that Kvitova needed to be on the winning side of a brutal game it was now, but Radwanska could seemingly do no wrong, breaking the Czech in the first game.


The only way out for Kvitova would be to keep the points short and somehow, she seemed to find her groove, reeling off nine points in a row to get things back on serve. Keeping the pressure on now was vital if she wanted to delay/deny Radwanska making some Polish history. At the very least (especially after a Doubles final drubbing for Carla Suarez Navarro and Garbine Muguruza in a little over an hour), the crowd needed to have a match to get their teeth into.


By the third set though it was clear that the heavy strapping on Kvitova’s right thigh was causing her grief. On more than one occasion she had looked in pain as the momentum shifted first the Czech’s way, and then back to Radwanska as she came from a break down in the decider to lead by a break.


Neither seemed willing to hold until finally Radwanska seemed to steady the ship to edge to a 5-3 lead. Kvitova’s grip loosened as Radwanska broke her to win as Kvitova dumped a forehand into the net.


Given that both players came in with a losing record, and Kvitova was reliant on Lucie Safarova delivering a straight sets win, it was a time to reflect ahead of the Fed Cup final next week.


“I think with this kind of tournament it’s more positives for sure,” Kvitova said. “I mean, I had a great match yesterday with Maria (Sharapova), and I just think that today was really big fight and just about few points and I didn’t make it.


“I think was still great even for me. The season was good. I mean, of course I wish a little bit better, but on the side I think could be much more worse. It’s still okay.”


The winner still had a look of disbelief about her, although she was reduced to speechlessness when asked if any of her prize money would be buying presents for the press!


When all said and done though, Radwanska deserved to be in the final with her tough match against Muguruza, and perhaps the results did not truly reflect the standard of her game for the large part.


She said: “I lost first two matches, but it’s not like I was playing bad. It was still good matches. I just didn’t use the chances. I wasn’t really focus enough and something just slip away and then it was hard to come back. But definitely not bad matches, especially the one against Maria. That’s why I didn’t ‑‑ I just knew being fresh and have a good rest, that is very important for us.


“I don’t know how, but I was really feeling better afterwards, and I think I used to conditions, used to surface. I think I was playing even better in those two days.”


It is worth noting that Amelie Mauresmo was the last WTA Finals champion without having won a Slam previously, and the following year she went on to win two.


She said: “Well, for sure give me more confidence, especially that in a Grand Slam you also to have win and beat couple of top players in a row.


“I think here it’s even harder because just eight of us and you don’t have any first rounds to used to the courts. But definitely a good start. I’ll definitely try to do that next year. (Smiling.)”


Kvitova of course heads to the Fed Cup Final in Prague, and Radwanska will join the IPTL this year.


Ros Satar was in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.


Kvitova to Face Radwanska for WTA Finals Crown

Agniezska Radwanska

Agniezska Radwanska

By Ros Satar

(October 31, 2015) SINGAPORE – The question around the media centre at the WTA Finals was just how much had Garbiñe Muguruza’s efforts in both the singles and the doubles taken out of her. A grueling match with Petra Kvitova had left her admitting that she felt pretty tired, whereas for Agnieszka Radwanska, it was a slot gained by the supreme play so far from Maria Sharapova, coming in with a 1-2 record for the second time in a row.


Even watching them in training in the morning, Radwanska seemed the more care-free and free-swinging while Muguruza looked a bit inhibited and more subdued. That being said, the nerves were evident for both as they started with trading breaks, before Radwanska held serve before the first change of ends.


With a run of four games on the trot, it looked as though Muguruza’s bubble had burst, while Radwanska, on her seventh time out at the season ending championships looked on the verge of getting past the semi-finals for the first time.


Calling out coach Sam Sumyk, Muguruza looked impassive as he murmured his advice, but whatever he said, it worked as she decided it was high time she went on a little winning spree of her own, winning the next three games to put her right back in contention.


Now things were picking up as the Muguruza started to apply a little more pressure, moving the magician around, putting some of that doubles prowess to good use, to force a first set tie-break.


Despite once more building up an advantage, Muguruza came back from 1-4 down to win five points in a row to bring up set point. Radwanska pulled off a regular Houdini trick to save it, and after a slugging rally, a bewitched net cord delivered Radwanska the cruelest blow, dropping the ball back on her side to hand Muguruza the first set with quite some drama.


If we thought the momentum would be with the second seed, we could not have been more wrong. Once more Radwanska was the quicker off the mark, quickly leaping out to a 4-0 lead before Muguruza would get on the board. This time, though there would be no miracle come back as Radwanska leveled the match.


With a feeling of déjà vu, Radwanska once more picked up a 3-0 lead, and this time it looked as though Muguruza was done. Yet again though with her back against the wall, Muguruza slowly crept back into the game. But the fatigue finally caught up with the Spaniard who could not serve to force a tie-break, with Radwanska breaking on her second match point to win 7-6(5,) 3-6, 7-5.


Radwanska said, after the match: “I was just so happy to get through that match. Like I was saying before, I didn’t really expect to be in the semis after the first losses and now it’s the final. So that was really big match. Well, a lot of emotion during that match I think all three hours. I’m just so relieved that it’s over and I could win that match.”


Describing some of the outstanding tennis on show today, she said: “Sometimes like, Oh, my God. It’s in! But tennis is so fast, so you’re not really have time to think. That’s just the reaction. We have not even a second to make shot, a decision, and it’s just suddenly there. But, well, I’m just always very happy to make those shots. Well, yeah. (Smiling.)”


With Muguruza still having to play the doubles semifinal later today, she was positive about the whole run, saying: “In the first set like I kind of give it all, and then it was hard for me to start the second one. But, well, I just wanted to give everything I had, and doesn’t matter how long I was going to be able to keep it. I just went out there, and if I die on the court, I die, but at least I go out from there happy.


“I’m super happy the way I played. I think it’s amazing: Tokyo, Wuhan, Beijing, and here and be able to keep the level and go out there and just have amazing matches.”

Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

The second semifinal had all the promise of a long slugfest with Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova trading breaks right at the start, before they got right down to business. But it has been a bit of an unsettled tournament for Kvitova. A lackluster start, and a tough battle to finish with a 1-2 record, reliant on an outstanding display by Lucie Safarova to dump Angelique Kerber out of the competition.


Any concerns though that she might have checked out a bit, went with two breaks at the end of the set in succession.


With the Russian hustling to a 3-0 lead at the start of the second, and no doubt having watched the first semifinal grind out with a sense of glee, she proceeded to make extremely light work of the Czech. Faced with yet another 1-4 score-line deficit, were we going to see another memorable comeback this evening?


The answer turned out to be yes, as Kvitova clicked into focus and worked her way back in, and Sharapova, who has been so strong throughout started to unravel a bit, while Kvitova ran off five games on the trot. Sharapova managed to stop the rot, to push the second set into a tie-break. Kvitova by now was locked in as she went on a run of four straight points to set up a final with Radwanska, winning 6-3, 7-6(3).


There were a lot of positives for Sharapova to take away from a tournament which signaled her first complete run since July this year.


She explained: “I didn’t have expectations coming into this week. Of course it’s always tough to sit after a match and say you’re happy, especially after you lose it. But I think it would be quite unprofessional of me to not take a lot of positives out of this week. I think there’s a lot to look forward to in the off‑season and next year, yeah, as well as couple of the matches in two weeks.


“I was able to play quite physical matches and get through them. I think that was something that I wasn’t sure of coming into this week because I hadn’t played a lot.


“I don’t know what to expect [from the Fed Cup Final]. I know it’s going to be much more difficult than the first time around, but it’s never easy playing away and never easy being in the final as well. Yeah, I just look forward to the experience. Something new for me.”


Kvitova had gone from being fairly disinterested in proceedings after almost accepting that her season (excepting Fed Cup) was over, to now having a shot at a second title.


She said: “It’s very weird, I have to say. Yesterday I was talking about my season, and it’s still not over yet. But I’m happy for that for sure. I mean, I couldn’t really believe that I going to play semifinal; now I’m the final, which is very interesting. I’m really looking forward. I think Aga is kind of in the same situation, so it’s going to be interesting.


“[She is a] difficult opponent, for sure. She’s very smart. I think she has a lot the variety on the court. She getting so many balls, so sometimes it feels that she’s never‑ending story on the court. So it’s really about the patient and still be kind of sharp, but playing a lot of shots and rallies. It’s difficult. But last match of the season for her, for me ‑ even if I’m not counting with the Fed Cup ‑‑ so both of us will leave everything out there tomorrow.”


Kvitova and Radwanska will play the final, on Stadium Court at 6:30pm.


Ros Satar is in Singapore covering the WTA Finals as media for Tennis Panorama News. She is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.