November 27, 2015

Novak Djokovic Four-peats at ATP World Tour Finals


(November 22, 2015) LONDON, UK – Capping a career season, Novak Djokovic won his fourth straight ATP World Tour Finals title beating Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday.


First blood in the first set went to the three-time defending champion even though at times he looked off kilter as he pounded away in the rallies. Nerves looked to still be with him as he gifted away a set point on Federer’s serve before finally wrapping it up.


There were no SABRs but there were some great rallies, but Federer’s inconsistency tended to lead in and away from moments of brilliance, and that appeared to be the story of his final.


In the second set, even after having to claw his way back from three break points down in a game, he found himself in trouble again and this time, he could not pull off the Houdini act. He saved one match point, but relinquished the other, although he made Djokovic wait for the victory, challenging the line call before conceding the match.


Djokovic now carves out a bit of history for himself – he is the first player to win four titles in a row, and he how equaled his head-to-head records with both Rafael Nadal and Federer in just this week alone.


Speaking on court after his win, he said: “I’m very proud together with my team for the achievements this season,” Djokovic said on court. “It could not have been a better finish. It’s the best season of my life.


“I’d like to congratulate Roger, tough luck today. We’ve played so many matches. I wish you a great next season. Rest well with your family and close ones. I hope we can have many more great matches next season.”

“For some reason or another, I’ve been playing some of my best tennis after the U.S. Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.”


Federer could only really concede he had lost to the better player. Also talking during the trophy presentation, he said: “It’s better than not paying at all like last year. I’d just like to say how happy I am that I could play today.


“It was a tough moment last year but this week was great again. I’ve had a fantastic year all round. I tried my best this week, thought I played some great tennis, even in the final. Some of the points were crazy.


“Novak deserved the win today. He’s had a ridiculously good year. This year has been long, grueling, tough. But I loved every moment of it.”

With that loss Federer also loses out on the World No. 2 spot to Andy Murray, who will play in the Davis Cup Final starting Friday November 27 in Belgium.


Djokovic ends 2015 winning 11 tournaments – three out of the four major titles, six Masters Series 1000 trophies in addition to the ATP’s year-end event.


Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Reach Final of ATP World Tour Finals

(November 21, 2015) LONDON, UK – In a repeat of a round robin match earlier in the competiton, Novak Djokovic will take on Roger Federer in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.


Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3

If there were any lingering doubts about whether Djokovic was ready to mount his offensive for a fourth straight title, at the ATP World Tour Finals, they only had to look at his start in the semi-final.


Swiftly establishing a 3-0 lead, he was the one calling all the shots. Nadal seemed to struggle to even stay with the Serbian, much less even get a look at his serve.


It took just a single break in the first set for Djokovic to keep his advantage, and at the start of the second set he looked like he was going for a mirror image of the first.


While Nadal managed to at least hold that attempt off, he would surrender a break shortly afterwards and in a final indignity, Djokovic broke him to seal the match.


Djokovic said, in his on-court interview: “It was a great performance, no doubt. From the very beginning I pushed to execute my game plan, trying to be aggressive, dictate the play.


“It’s easier said than done when playing as great of a defender as Rafa. He was playing some great tennis earlier this week. I managed to pull out my best game when it was needed the most. Just glad to get through to final.”


For Nadal – it was his best close post-US Open after a disastrous start to the year by his standards, and so he looks forward to 2016 in the hope that he has regained his confidence.

Roger Federer def. Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3

This had the promise of being a hard fought three-setter, and indeed when Wawrinka broke Federer in the middle of the first set, it looked as though this would most certainly go the distance.


A sloppy game at the end of the set though handed it to Federer, and that momentum stayed with him as he quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead.


Wawrinka was at least able to stop the rot and prevented Federer from breaking him to grab the set, but all to rapidly, Federer served out to love for a most straight forward win.


“He [Djokovic] should be knocked out by now,” Federer joked in his on-court interview. “I’m joking. It’s a great format, the round robin. He’s had a tremendous year, another great semifinal against Rafa [Nadal]. I know it will be difficult tomorrow. I’ll give it all I have, it’s the last match of the season.”


He now sets up the final fans were denied last year, and will face three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.



Wawrinka Beats Murray to Reach ATP World Tour Finals Semis, Nadal Rebounds to Defeat Ferrer


(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – Is there such a thing as an inconsequential match? On paper, Rafael Nadal had nothing to lose or indeed gain with his final group round robin match, while David Ferrer was playing for sheer pride at the ATP World Tour Finals on Friday


At the start it actually looked like Nadal was on a mission to put his compatriot out of his misery early, but with typical tenaciousness, Ferrer scrapped and scampered his way back into the match, indeed nudging the lead once back on serve. Having reeled off four games in a row, Ferrer kept toe-to-toe with Nadal, forcing a tie-break and running away with it to take the first set off Nadal 7-6(4).


That would get the crowd sitting up, as a highly competitive second set was decided with a late break after Nadal failed to capitalize on an earlier break point.


An epic 14-minute hold at the start of the second set would help maybe speed Ferrer to a face saving win, but once more it was a late break that confirmed Nadal’s resurgence. The world No. 6 went on to win 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.


As gritty and as dogged as Ferrer is, it was maybe unfair of him to come away with a 0-3 record, but he is as determined as he is consistent, so do not count out seeing him again this time next year.


Nadal faces three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic next.


“It is very important for me to be finishing the season like this, competing well against the best players,” said Nadal, when he was interviewed on court.


“Novak is playing almost better than impossible. He is achieving almost everything that one player can dream. I have to play to the limit of my best to have a chance.”


The straight shoot-out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray came in the evening session. Prior to the match many felt it would come down to whichever Wawrinka showed up, but in truth while the more aggressive player got the first strike, Murray kept him in check and even built up a solid lead in the resulting first set tie-break which went to the Swiss 7-4.


Therein lay the issue – ahead and looking in control a run of basic errors cost Murray the set, with Wawrinka having to do not very much at all. He continued that streak into the start of the second set with an early break but it was the Swiss’ turn to lose the plot as he served out for the match at 5-2.


Murray looked to be clawing his way back to level terms, but he really had not left enough time, and once some errors swept in giving Wawrinka a 7-6(4), 6-4 win which sets up a rematch of the last year’s prickly semifinal with compatriot Roger Federer.


“It was important to get the first set,” Wawrinka said in his on court interview “It was a tough battle, it’s always tough against Andy. It was an amazing atmosphere, I really enjoyed it tonight.


“It’s going to be an interesting match [against Federer] for sure, we played a crazy match last year, it’s always special against him. I will try to rest and be ready for tomorrow.”


The semifinals start at 12pm GMT on Saturday.


ATP World Tour Finals – Djokovic Reaches Semis While Federer 3-0 in Group Play

(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – With Roger Federer installed at the top of the Stan Smith group at the ATP World Tour Finals, and a tight head-to-head with the Japanese No. 1, it would be interesting to see how this match unfurled. Federer was quick to deliver the first blow, only to be pegged right back.


Kei Nishikori may have had a slow start but he was not going to go quietly into the night, taking the initiative to put Federer on the back foot, only to lose the advantage.


It was a tight finish to the first set, with Federer finally taking it, and the momentum stayed with him as he quickly left Nishikori standing with a 4-1 lead. The comeback from the Japanese player was remarkable, winning the next five games.


Again Federer was the quicker off the blocks in the decider but there is something about that 1-4 score-line that spurred Nishikori into access once more, but this time his three-game run was as far as he would go, with Federer winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.


After the match Federer praised his opponent, who last year reached the semi-final on his debut.


Federer said: “It’s amazing what [Nishikori]’s able to produce on the court. Today was another showcase of that. It was impressive. It wasn’t easy, but somehow I got it done.”


Novak Djokovic needed just a single set to advance, having weathered a bearded Federer storm, and put the Czech Tomas Berdych under immediate pressure. While he wasn’t able to hold on to the advantage, there was always a sense that the push would come from the Serbian as he chipped away at Berdych before finally getting a break at the end of the set.


While Djokovic took the early initiative once more, he made pretty hard work for himself, giving Berdych a route back in to the match. Still it was not enough for the Czech, and he blinked first, with Djokovic closing out a 6-3 7-5 win and he will go on to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.


“I’ve played him so many times on different surfaces, two or three on this very court,” he said after his victory. “Hopefully I’ll be able to perform my best, that’s what’s needed to compete against him.”


With all eyes on the evening match on Friday, it is a straight shoot out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray for a place to fight Federer.


Play will start for the final day of round robin matches at 12pm.


Rafael Nadal Reaches ATP World Tour Semifinals with Dominant Victory over Andy Murray


(November 18, 2015) LONDON, UK – Despite a promising start for the Andy Murray with an immediate break, any signs of nerves from either player was eradicated once Rafael Nadal broke back, and then proceeded to take charge on Day four of the ATP World Tour Finals.


In a slightly more competitive first set, the pair stayed toe-to-toe with each other, but it was always the Spaniard who was hustling more, while Murray at times looked very bothered about everything.


Not even giving himself a haircut could change Murray’s momentum in the match. The Brit gave himself a little trim during a changeover in the first set.

“I had some hair in my eye, and I just wanted to get rid of it,” said Murray. “That literally took two seconds. That was it.”


The non-stop commentary to himself, his team, and engagement with the umpire all served to distract him from the fact that Nadal was very much in control of the set.


With a poor first serve percentage in the first set, things continued to slip away from the Brit rapidly, as nothing seemed to work. The odd occasions he did try to come forward did yield some hope, but it just was not consistent enough and Nadal rightly punished him royally for it soundly defeating Murray 6-4, 6-1, clinching the second spot in the semifinals.


He admitted: “He was hitting the ball extremely well from the back of the court, but I didn’t really help myself. I served poorly at the end of the first set and all through the second. That’s not going to be good enough against him when he’s playing that well.”


It leaves Murray with a dilemma, as all depends on the outcome of the night match against Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had been listless against Nadal, barely trying at times, with a shocking amount of errors leaking from every point on his racquet, it could make for an entertaining encounter between Wawrinka and Murray on Friday as they make their last bids for semifinal place.


Wawrinka defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 in the night session, rallying from 2-5 down in the first set. Nadal qualified for the semifinals when Wawrinka claimed the first set.


In all honestly Nadal would look to be coasting towards a 3-0 lead at the head of Group Ilie Nastase and based on Ferrer’s abilities and his having pushed Murray to two tight sets in the opener, it would look to be a straight fight between the elder Spaniard and Murray for the No. 2 spot in the group, earning most likely a semifinal berth against Roger Federer.


He assessed his performance for the media after the match: “It’s an important victory because it puts me in a good position to try to be in the semi-finals, and at the same time I have a big day against a great player on a tough surface.”


Play continues with the final group stages for Group Stan Smith with the opening doubles matches starting at 12pm GMT


Roger Federer Stops Novak Djokovic’s Winning Streak at ATP World Tour Finals

(November 17, 2015) LONDON, UK – The World No. 3 Roger Federer became the first player to book his place in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals as he stopped the three-time defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 in the evening session at the O2 Arena.


While everyone expected another three-setter, as rallies clocked over 20 shots, there was nothing between them until a lapse from the defending champion to hand Federer the break for the first set.


Surrendering an early break in the second set to the Serbian gave fans hope that a comeback was on the cards, but an immediate break back, and two others to boot, pushed Djokovic down the table, and gave Federer his semi-final berth.


Not even a bold challenge on the second match point could save Djokovic, who now faces Berdych on the verge of a 0-3 drubbing in the group stages when they reconvene on Thursday.


Djokovic said: “The court is playing a little bit slower than maybe US Open or Cincinnati, the last couple times we played against each other. I think that’s where he felt maybe he can spin the ball and wait for a shorter ball from my side and come in, which he did. He tactically played well.”


Even Federer was not expecting the win, even allowing for how competitive he is.


“I wouldn’t have picked it maybe before the tournament, you know, just because of his really good record on the indoors, the year he’s had, especially with the run he’s been on. I focused more on beating (Tomas) Berdych and (Kei) Nishikori and let’s see what happens against Novak.”


The victory by the Swiss halted a number of the Serbian’s streaks – 38 indoor match wins, 23 overall match wins and 15 straight victories at the year-end championships.


Federer has taken back the lead in his head-to-head record against Djokovic at 22-21.


Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

The day session featured the first three-set singles match of the event when No. 8 Kei Nishikori defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.


Ironically a match with the two players yet to win a round robin match in Group Stan Smith turned out to be one of the most entertaining Singles matches after a couple of says of straight-forward wins.


Both Berdych and Nishikori were searching for their first wins of the tournament, and with the prospect facing them of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer respectively, a win was absolutely vital.


Certainly the first set was even, with perhaps Nishikori playing a bit more aggressively, nibbling away at the Berdych service game until he was finally rewarded with a timely break at the end of the first set.


It actually looked as though that had broken Berdych’s spirit as he quickly succumbed to another break at the start of the second set, but just as fast picked up momentum after a sloppy game from Nishikori allowed the Czech back in.


Into the first three-set match of the tournament in the Singles, and the pair were evenly matched in the final set, but once more it was Nishikori who was able to make good on his chances for a break point, getting his much needed win on the board.


The Japanese player admitted that everything had been working far better than in his opener against Novak Djokovic.


He said: “It was much better than first match. My serve went in much better than first match. Had a more good percentage for my first serve. Strokes, too. I thought I was being very aggressive. These courts are really slow, have more time to step in. I thought there were many good shots for me. I mean, I had a bad game in second set at 2-1, and after that he started playing better. That was kind of my fault that I give him little bit chance to come back for the match. Third set I tried to stay there all the time, more consistency, less unforced errors for me. Very happy with my game today.”



Play begins on Day 4 at 12pm GMT.


ATP World Tour Finals – Andy Murray a Victory Away From Securing Year-End No. 2

(November 15, 2015) LONDON, UK – On day two of the ATP World Tour Finals, the question was whether Andy Murray would make that transition from his clay court preparations to the indoor hard court against an opponent that can be a large thorn in anyone’s side.


Facing David Ferrer for the second time in as many tournaments, it was clear that the Spaniard was up for making this a grueling encounter, putting Murray under pressure immediately.


Chances came and went for Murray later in the set, as he squandered three opportunities to gain an advantage, instead opting for breaking Ferrer for the set.


It is never as clear cut as that with this pair, as Ferrer took off at a sprint at the start of the second set, breaking the Brit, and consolidating easily. Murray was not easily put away though, breaking the Spaniard before repeating his feat from the first set, breaking to win 6-4, 6-4.


This puts him within a win of securing the year end No. 2 spot for the first time in his career.


He said to media, after the match: “First couple of games my timing was a little bit off. But I got it back pretty quickly, which was pleasing. You know, if you’re looking for a little bit of rhythm, he’s also a guy who makes you hit a lot of balls. The rallies are often quite long, so you can get into a rhythm against him. So that was good.”

Murray who will play the Davis Cup final next week against Belgium, was asked about the Paris attacks and if he had any concerns about going to Belgium. “I think everybody right now is concerned about things,” said the Scotsman. “But I do think the best thing that we can do is to live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists are the ones that are winning.”

“We need to go out there and do what we always do and try not to change too much. That’s all we can do.”

“I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court. So that’s what I’ll do.”


There were high hopes that the night session match would deliver the first three set singles match of the tournament. There was disappointed because despite an early break by Stan Wawrinka, it was all about Rafael Nadal.


Having been quite defensive pre-tournament about his year, even going so far to reiterate that his slide down the rankings has not been because of injury but down to ‘playing badly,’ or rather a lack of confidence, Nadal looked to exploit an ill-at-ease Wawrinka, whom many thought to be a real contender.


While the first set was at least competitive, a mammoth hold at the start of the second set marked the tone for the remainder of the match. Nothing Wawrinka could do was right, as he sprayed errors thick and fast from his racquet.


Sure Nadal regained some of his trademark swagger, but it was as much about an apparent self-destruct from Wawrinka that set the Spaniard alongside Murray with a win against his name, 6-3, 6-2.


Wawrinka could do little else but acknowledge that he had played poorly, saying: “Just disappointed in general. I don’t think was great level, was great match. You know, when something goes wrong today, everything went wrong. Just everything went the wrong way.”


Nadal may have settled any nerves he had with that performance. He said: “I had a good week of practice here. I think I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes. Just the thing I can do a little bit better is serving. For the moment I didn’t serve as good as I was doing in the previous days. But for the rest, all the shots worked well: backhand, forehand, good volleys, good smash, no missing the smashes today. So that’s good.”


Nadal and Murray will play in the next round, with Wawrinka and Ferrer each looking to salvage their chances on Day 4.


Groups Announced for ATP World Tour Finals; London Will Host event Through 2018

ATP World Tour Finals

(November 12, 2015) The ATP World Tour Finals in London held the official group draws ahead of the Sunday start. Top seed Novak Djokovic seeking a fifth year-end crown is in the Stan Smith group along with (3) Roger Federer, (6) Tomas Berdych and (8) Kei Nishikori. The Illie Nastase group consists of (2) Andy Murray, (4) Stan Wawrinka, (5) Rafael Nadal and (7) David Ferrer.

This year the singles and doubles groups have been named after former champions of the year-end event, including Stan Smith, the 1970 winner at Tokyo in 1970, and four-time winner Illie Nastase. Arthur Ashe and Smith won the first doubles title in 1970 while Peter Fleming and John McEnroe won the crown eight consecutive times.

The singles and doubles groups are listed below as well as the order of play for Sunday and Monday.


Singles – Group Stan Smith 
[1] N Djokovic (SRB)
[3] R Federer (SUI)
[6] T Berdych (CZE)
[8] K Nishikori (JPN)
Singles – Group Ilie Nastase
[2] A Murray (GBR)
[4] S Wawrinka (SUI)
[5] R Nadal (ESP)
[7] D Ferrer (ESP)
Doubles – Group Ashe/Smith 
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
[4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)
[5] S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA)
[8] R Bopanna (IND) / F Mergea (ROU)
Doubles – Group Fleming/McEnroe
[2] J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU)
[3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)
[6] P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)
[7] M Matkowski (POL) / N Zimonjic (SRB)


Order of Play – Sunday, 15 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups Stan Smith & Ashe/Smith
(4) J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) (5) S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA)
(1) (SRB)
(8) (JPN)
Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups Stan Smith & Ashe/Smith
(1) B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) (8) R Bopanna (IND) / F Mergea (ROU)
(3) (SUI)
(6) (CZE)
ATP World Tour Results
Order of Play – Monday, 16 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups Ilie Nastase & Fleming/McEnroe
(2) J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU) (7) M Matkowski (POL) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
(2) (GBR)
(7) (ESP)
Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups Ilie Nastase & Fleming/McEnroe
(3) I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) (6) P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)
(4) (SUI)
(5) (ESP)

Tennis Channel To Air ATP World Tour Finals Live

TennisChannelLogo 300 by 500

(November 12, 2015) LOS ANGELES – Beginning Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7 a.m. ET, Tennis Channel will again become the television home of the annual season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The network’s coverage of the eight-day event between the top-eight singles players and doubles teams in tennis this year will feature live matches throughout the day, followed by 8 p.m.-4 a.m. primetime encores each evening. Tennis Channel will devote close to 60 live hours and more than 120 overall to the most exclusive tournament on the men’s tour, with all 57 matches televised, and all but three of them live.
As men’s tennis crowns its 2015 singles and doubles champions, Tennis Channel’s typical daily lineup begins with a doubles match each morning at 7 a.m. ET, immediately followed by singles play at 9 a.m. ET (a complete schedule is below). The doubles-then-singles format resumes from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. ET, before a primetime recap of the entire day’s matches gets underway at 8 p.m. ET and runs throughout the late night and early morning.
Emmy Award-winning announcer Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) will handle call play-by-play for Tennis Channel during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and be joined by analysts Jim Courier and Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone). Both former players, Hall of Famer Courier has guided the United States Davis Cup team as its captain since 2010, while Annacone has become one of the sport’s most renowned coaches for his successes with all-time greats Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals takes place in London’s raucous O2 Arena at the end of the men’s tennis season, and is reserved for only the top-eight singles and doubles points earners of 2015. Singles players are split into two groups of four, with a guaranteed three matches for each against every other contender in his division. The top two in each group advance to traditional, single-elimination semifinals with the winners playing for the championship on Sunday, Nov. 22.
With doubles following the same format, the round-robin arrangement ensures match after match of top-ranked players, in battles reminiscent of the latter rounds of any of the four majors.
This year’s singles draw reads like a Who’s Who of Grand Slam champions and future Hall of Famers, with: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori. The strong doubles field includes American twins Bob and Mike Bryan – perhaps the greatest ever – as well as Jean-Julien Rojer-Horia Tecau, Jamie Murray-John Peers, Ivan Dodig-Marcelo Melo, Simone Bolelli-Fabio Fognini, Pierre-Hugues Herbert-Nicolas Mahut, Marcin Matkowski-Nenad-Zimonjic and Rohan Bopanna-Florin Mergea.
Following the second singles semifinal Saturday, Nov. 21, Tennis Channel will air a special half-hour interview with women’s tennis star Maria Sharapova. Holding Serve with Maria Sharapova is slated for 5:15 p.m. ET and offers a revealing look at the global phenomenon’s life and career through a candid one-on-one conversation with Haber.
Mobile users can follow all the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals action via the authenticated linear stream on Tennis Channel’s Tennis Channel Everywhere app. Free to everyone in the United States, most Tennis Channel subscribers can simply enter their pay-TV provider credentials and access the network live at no additional cost. The channel’s website,, will feature articles from veteran reporter and author Steve Flink, as well as real-time scoring from London, and can be accessed via mobile device.
Tennis Channel’s 2015 ATP World Tour Finals Schedule: (All matches are live unless otherwise indicated with * for same-day delay)
                 Date                                             Time (ET)                                       Event
Sunday, Nov. 15
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Monday, Nov. 16
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Tuesday, Nov. 17
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Wednesday, Nov. 18
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Thursday, Nov. 19
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; 8 p.m.-10 p.m.*
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Friday, Nov. 20
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 12:45 p.m.-2:30 p.m.; 8 p.m.-10 p.m.*
Doubles and Singles Round-Robin Matches
Saturday, Nov. 21
7 a.m. -11 a.m.; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Doubles and Singles Semifinals
Sunday, Nov. 16
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 8 p.m.- 12 a.m.*
Double Final; Doubles and Singles Finals

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.