Mover of the Week
Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki is our Mover of the Week after her thrilling victory over fifth seeded Venus Williams in the final of the WTA Finals in Singapore. It was the Dane’s first victory over the elder Williams sister in eight attempts, and according to Wozniacki “eight is my lucky number”. Wozniacki began brightly, taking the first set six games to four and looked to be in control of the match. An early break set her on her way in the second set and victory looked to be within her grasp when she stormed to a 5-0 lead.
But Venus wasn’t ready for her season to end and made an astonishing comeback to win four games on the bounce and get back on serve. But Wozniacki held firm, continuing to trust in her impressive defence as well as going on the front foot, and saw out the win to pick up the biggest title of her career to date. It was a fitting reward for the many improvements Wozniacki has made, including to her serve which saw her hit four aces in the match against Williams. As a result, Wozniacki returns to the top three, climbing from world #6 to world #3. That should give her an excellent chance of making a deep run at the Australian Open in January.
Loser of the Week
It was fourth seeded Elina Svitolina’s first time at the WTA Finals, and that showed as the Ukrainian looked overawed through the week. She lost her first two round robin matches to Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki respectively and struggled badly to find her game. She said as much in her interviews, commenting that “we are all human. We can lose our way. Yeah, it’s tricky, but you need to be ready for these kinds of weeks and for this kind of tournament.”
Svitolina came into Singapore having won five tournaments in 2017, including three at Premier 5 level. But she had seemed to run out of steam as injuries and poor form afflicted her late-season efforts, and she struggled to win matches, going 4-2 after the US Open with her best result a quarterfinal in Beijing. She eventually revealed her prowess in a 6-3 6-4 victory over world #1 Simona Halep to eliminate the Romanian from the tournament. But that victory was too late to stop Svitolina’s fall in the rankings, with her sliding out of the top four down to world #6.
Romania’s Simona Halep and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza deserve credit from retaining their #1 and #2 rankings. Both doubtless went into the WTA Finals hoping to have a deep run and possibly claim the title. Particularly Halep who may have been disappointed by her haul of big titles this year. But though it wasn’t to be for either with both going out in the group stage, finishing the year in the top two is no mean feat.
There were also plenty of tournaments away from Singapore that gave some players further down the roster the chance to make their mark on the week. Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania won the title in Poitiers, ousting top seed Tatjana Maria in the semifinal, before defeating Alison Van Uytvanck in the final to claim the tournament. Her success was rewarded with a jump from #99 to #72, a career high for Buzarnescu.
Van Uytvanck, the fourth seed in Poitiers, also climbed up the rankings ladder four spots despite a straight sets 6-4 6-2 defeat. A huge jump of 49 spots was made this week by Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in Macon, Georgia. The Slovakian made it all the way to the final, and then defeated Victoria Duval 6-4 6-1 for the title, rising from #181 to #132 in the world. She fell out of the top 100 in 2016 but looks like she is headed back in the right direction now.
- Simona Halep, 6175 points, no change
- Garbine Muguruza, 6135 points, no change
- Caroline Wozniacki, 6015 points, moves up three places
- Karolina Pliskova, 5730 points, moves down one place
- Venus Williams, 5597 points, no change
- Elina Svitolina, 5500 points, moves down two places
- Jelena Ostapenko, 5010 points, no change
- Caroline Garcia, 4420 points, no change
- Johanna Konta, 3610 points, no change
- Kristina Mladenovic, 2885 points, no change
- Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2856 points, no change
- Coco Vandeweghe, 2819 points, no change
- Sloane Stephens, 2722 points, no change
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 2425 points, no change
- Anastasija Sevastova, 2295 points, no change
- Madison Keys, 2213 points, no change
- Elena Vesnina, 2195 points, no change
- Julia Gorges, 2060 points, no change
- Angelique Kerber, 2042 points, no change
- Ashleigh Barty, 2031 points, no change
- Serena Williams, 2030 points, no change
- Magdalena Rybarikova, 1999 points, no change
- Barbora Strycova, 1965 points, no change
- Daria Kasatkina, 1950 points, no change
- Daria Gavrilova, 1865 points, no change
Who was your Mover of the Week! Let us know in the comments below!
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