Mover of the Week
Her Championships may not have ended quite the way she wanted, but it was still surely a dream run for Serena Williams. The 23-time Grand Slam champion gave birth in September and was playing only her fourth tournament since she won the Australian Open in 2017 as a result. That long absence had seen her ranking plummet to 181st in the world coming into the Wimbledon though the All England Club made an exemption to their usual rules to seed her 25th.
To say she rewarded their faith in her would be an understatement. Though there can be no doubt that she benefitted from a draw that was without a top ten seed by the end of the fourth round, Williams still had work to do to take advantage of that. And she did it almost perfectly. Beginning with a 7-5 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus, the American looked almost unstoppable in charging through to the final, only dropping a set against Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals.
Ultimately, the challenge of Angelique Kerber, a two-time Major champion and former world #1, proved too much in the final. The German played a superb match to win fairly comfortably, 6-3 6-2, but the size of Williams accomplishment scarcely seems lessened for that. It feels unlikely that anyone else could have done it, and Williams deserves every bit of the rich praise she is receiving for her efforts. They were rewarded in the rankings with a rise of 153 places to world #28.
Loser of the Week
So far, neither of Garbine Muguruza’s title defences at the Slams have gone remotely to plan. After a loss in the fourth round of the French Open last year ended her attempt to defend her title in Paris, she fared even worse at Wimbledon this year. In 2017, the Spaniard spectacularly ended a run of poor form almost a year old with a thrilling run to the Wimbledon final where she overcame Venus Williams 7-5 6-0 to claim a first Wimbledon crown. Shortly afterwards, she climbed to the #1 spot.
This year, things did not go quite so well in SW19 for Spain’s finest. Her grass court form in the lead up to the tournament had perhaps offered little to get excited about as she took a heavy loss at the hands of Barbora Strycova in the second round of the Birmingham Classic. Though she may have put those doubts about her grass court form behind her with a comfortable 6-2 7-5 win over Naomi Broady on Centre Court, they reappeared in force against Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round.
Relegated, in a disappointing move by the Wimbledon officials, to Court Two, Muguruza struggled to get a handle on the Belgian’s mixture of power and feel, and as darkness began to veil the All England Club, Muguruza’s challenge collapsed. She lost 7-5 2-6 1-6 to exit in the second round, the earliest a defending champion had fallen at Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1994. It also cost Muguruza her place in the top three, with the Spaniard falling to world #7 as a result.
Under almost any circumstances, claiming her first Wimbledon title would have made Angelique Kerber the centre of attention. Such were Williams’ achievements, that even in winning the Championships the German was relegated a little to second place. But she has now claimed three Slams and is ranked world #4. Over the past few years, in a manner not dissimilar to Stan Wawrinka, Kerber has realised her talent and is now surely a guaranteed Hall of Famer.
Real success at the Slams had long eluded Julia Goerges, but the German finally added a deep run at a Major to her otherwise excellent C.V. by reaching the last four at Wimbledon. She had to play some fine tennis to get there, particularly in outlasting the in-form Strycova 10-8 in the decider of their third round clash. She was, in the end, out-thought and out-fought by Williams in the semifinals, losing 2-6 4-6, but it was nonetheless a fine effort by Goerges. Her reward is a return to the top ten at world #10.
1. Simona Halep (Rom), 7571 points, no change
2. Caroline Wozniacki (Den), 6740 points, no change
3. Sloane Stephens (US), 5463 points, moves up one place
4. Angelique Kerber (Ger), 5305 points, moves up six places
5. Elina Svitolina (Ukr), 5020 points, no change
6. Caroline Garcia (Fra), 4730 points, no change
7. Garbine Muguruza (Esp), 4620 points, drops down four places
8. Petra Kvitova (Cze), 4550 points, drops down one place
9. Karolina Pliskova (Cze), 4485 points, drops down one place
10. Julia Goerges (Ger), 3980 points, moves up three places
11. Jelena Ostapenko (Lat), 3787 points, moves up one place
12. Madison Keys (US), 3596 points, drops down one place
13. Daria Kasatkina (Rus), 3525 points, moves up one place
14. Venus Williams (US), 2801 points, drops down five places
15. Elise Mertens (Bel), 2755 points, no change
16. Ashleigh Barty (Aus), 2555 points, moves up one place
17. Kiki Bertens (Ned), 2510 points, moves up three places
18. Naomi Osaka (Jpn), 2530 points, no change
19. Coco Vandeweghe (US), 2183 points, drops down three places
20. Barbora Strycova (Cze), 1975 points, moves up three places
Who was your Mover of the Week? Let us know in the comments below!