Top 10 Achievers in Tennis in 2015 Season
The 2015 season in Tennis has been great one. While Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams barely missed out on a calendar slam and were obvious standouts, there were quite a few surprises in the form of Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta and Richard Gasquet. We take a look at the top 10 achievers in Tennis in 2015, apart from Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
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The swiss number 2 perhaps gave the biggest surprise of the year when he beat World Number 1 Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 at the Roland Garros Finals against all odds. Djokovic was expected to win his first French Open Title and achieve a career slam, but Wawrinka was just too good that day. Anything on Wawrinka’s backhand, was mostly a winner. Wawrinka, after a poor start to the season in 2015, was seeded 8th at the French Open, but like his victory in the Australian Open in 2014, he beat both the first and the second seeds.
Wawrinka also reached the semi-finals of Australian Open, US Open and the World Tour Finals in 2015. Apart from this, he won the Chennai Open for the third consecutive time, and achieved his ranking of Number 4, which was his ranking at the start of the year.
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At the start of the year, Goffin was ranked 22 and ended the year being ranked 16. He also achieved his highest ranking of 14 in July, but couldn’t sustain it. Goffin was instrumental in taking Belgium to the finals of Davis Cup and only lost to Andy Murray in the finals. Goffin reached the quarterfinals of Swiss Indoor Basel, the round of 16 at Wimbledon and the finals of Swiss Open Gstaad. The highlight of his performance was certainly the one against Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in Davis Cup when he won after being down 2 sets to love.
You know you have had a great year when you jump up 17 places from the start of the season. Richard Gasquet was ranked 26 when 2015 started, and now he is ranked World No. 9. His best performance this year inarguably has to be at the Wimbledon, where he reached the semi-finals and matched his performance of 2007, which was his best ever. He defeated Grigor Dimitrov, who was the semi-finalist in 2014, Nick Kyrgios, quarter-finalist Wimbledon 2014 and winner of French Open Stan Wawrinka. Gasquet beat Wawrinka after being 2-1 down after the third set and then winning the longish fifth set 11-9. The final scoreline was 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 11-9.
He also reached the quarter-finals of US Open, where he was defeated by Roger Federer in straight sets and the semi-finals of Swiss Indoor Basel where Rafael Nadal beat him. He also bagged his 11th and 12th Career Titles at 2015 Open Sud de France and 2015 Estoril Open respectively.
Safarova/Venus, Muguruza, Bencic,Mirza-Hingis
Murray started 2015 with being ranked as World No. 6, and ended 2015 as World No.2. The biggest achievement for him this year will definitely be the Davis Cup victory over Belgium. Not only was this Murray’s first Davis Cup title, bu it was also the first for Great Britain in 77 years. Murray was fairly consistent in the grand slams this year, reaching the finals of Australian Open and the semi-finals of Roland Garros and Wimbledon. However, he failed to reached the quarter-finals of US Open and the semi-finals of World Tour Finals.
Murray, lost only one match on clay in the entire season and won the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, the AEGON Championships, Madrid Open and the BMW Open.
The player who stunned Serena Williams in her own backyard and stopped her from achieving a Calendar slam. Serena Williams right from the start of 2015, was all but certain to achieve a calendar slam. When Serena won her 21st Grand slam and her 6th Wimbledon title defeating Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4, it seemed that Serena would be unstoppable in the US Open too and in all certainty would win her 4th consecutive and 7th US Open title.
Come the semifinals, Vinci became the oldest first-time Grandslam semi-finalist in the Open Era. She lost the first set against Serena 2-6, but came back to stage a three-set victory and won the second and third sets 6-4, 6-4. With Flavia Pennetta reaching the finals, it was a first all-Italian final in the Grand slams in the Open Era. Pennetta won 7-6, 6-2. Vinci started the year ranked as 49 and ended it as 15.
The only woman to win the ladies single grand slam this year and the US Open in four years apart from Serena Williams. In the first all-Italian final of Grand slams in the Open Era, she beat Roberta Vinci 7-6, 6-2.
Pennetta ended 2014 ranked 13, and achieved her career’s highest ranking of 6 after her US Open victory. She ended the year as World No. 8 by virtue of some brilliant victories over the likes of Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka.
Her best match of 2015 would certainly be the US Open quarterfinal against Kvitova, where she won in 3 sets after being 1-3 down in the second set. She announced her retirement in her speech after winning the US Open.
Radwanska had a good start to the season after winning the Hopman Cup with Jerzy Janowicz, where she defeated Serena Williams for the first time in a singles match. What followed were a string of disappointments for Radwanska as she lost in the fourth round to Venus Williams in the Australian Open, lost in the 3rd round of Indian Wells to Heather Watson, lost in the fourth round at the Miami Open and was ranked outside of Top 10 for the first time since October 2011 when she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the 3rd round at Matua Madrid Open.
What started the turn around for Radwanska were the grass tournaments just before Wimbledon when she reached the semi-finals and finals of 2015 Aegon Trophy and 2015 Aegon International respectively. She then reached the semifinals of Wimbledon where she lost to Garbine Muguruza. What followed was a poor hard court season as she lost in third round at US Open to Madison Keys.
Radwanska won her first title of the season by winning the Toray Pan Pacific Open for the second time in her career and her second title for the year came at Taijing Open, due to which she just managed to make it to the World Tour Finals in Singapore which turned out to be her highlight of the season as she defeated Petra Kvitova to win her first WTF title. She finished the year ranked as World No. 5.
Belinda Bencic did not have a singles career title to her and was ranked 33 when 2014 ended. Come 2015, Bencic won her first singles title at the Aegon Internationals and then registered perhaps her greatest victory at the Rogers Cup where she beat four top-10 players in Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams and Simona Halep. She became the youngest player to beat Serena Williams since Maria Sharapova in 2004 and the first teenager since Sloane Stephens in 2013.
Bencic reached the finals of Toray Pan Pacific Open beating Garbine Muguruza, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki but lost to Radwanska. She ended the year ranked as World No. 14, 19 places up from her year end ranking of 33 last year.
The highlight of Garbine Muguruza’s 2015 season would certainly be her performance at the Wimbledon Championships, where she reached the finals, and after giving Serena a good fight, lost 6-4, 6-4.
She reached the semi-finals of WTA Premier-5 for the first time in the Dubai Tennis Championships where she lost to Karolína Plíšková. She reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for a second time, but lost to eventual runner-up Lucie Safarova. She had a poor US Open and Australian Open considering she could just reach the second and the fourth rounds respectively.
She entered Top 5 in the rankings after the conclusion of the Wuhan Open, where she reached the finals but was forced to retire in the final courtesy an ankle injury and Venus Williams won the tournament.
Her biggest win of the career came at the China Open when she defeated Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets. She achieved a career high ranking of World No.4 and qualified to play the World Tour Finals. She was undefeated in the group stage of the tournament beating Petra Kvitová, Angelique Kerber, and Lucie Šafárová but lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals.
Muguruza ended the year as World No. 3 in singles.
The former World No.1 and 13 time Grandslam champion Venus Williams jumped up 12 places from being ranked 19 to ranked 7 at the end of 2015. Venus started off the season by winning the ASB Classic and winning her 46th singles title. She followed it up by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, the first time she made it to the last eight of Grandslam since US Open 2010. She was impressive at the Qatar Total Open and the Miami Open too, where she reached the semi-finals and quarter finals respectively. In the process, she had registered 4 wins against the Top 10 ranked players.
At the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open, Venus couldn’t overcome sister Serena and lost to her in straight sets and three sets respectively.
Venus probably won her biggest tournament in 5 years when she won the Wuhan Open when her opponent Muguruza retired in the final. En-route to her victory, Venus registered 700th career win when she Julia Görges in the second round. She also registered her 5th and 6th victory against the Top 10 when she beat Radwanska and Carla Suárez Navarro in the first and third round of Wuhan Open respectively. Courtesy of this victory, she was an alternate for the World Tour Finals and qualified for WTA Elite Trophy which she won for the 3rd time in her career.
Sania Mirza started the year ranked as No.6 in doubles and her partner was Hsieh Su-wei. She then paired with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and won her 23rd career title (5th with Mattek-Sands). However, the duo couldn’t go beyond 2nd round at the Australian Open, but reached the finals of Qatar Ladies Open after which Sania partnered with Swiss legend Martina Hingis.
On their debut, they won the Indian Wells Tournament and didn’t lose more than 4 games in any set throughout the tournament. They beat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-4 in the finals and also defeated them in the finals of Miami Masters event.
After winning the Miami Open, the duo’s set score was an astonishing 20-0 and they reached the No.1 ranking after winning the 2015 Family Circle cup. However, they couldn’t keep up the momentum and lost in the quarter-finals of the French Open to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Šafářová by 7-5, 6-2 where the duo were the top seeds.
Their best match of the year came in the finals of 2015 Wimbledon Championships against Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, where they were 2-5 down in the third set, but went on to win the next 5 games to take the Women’s Doubles Title home. This was Mirza’s first and Hingis’ 10th Women’s Doubles Grandslam title. With this win, they were the first to qualify for the WTA Finals.
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The duo was the top seed at the US Open, and did full justice to their seeding by winning the tournament without dropping a set and continued their winning streak till the end of the year. After the US Open, the duo won Guangzhou International Women’s Open, 2015 Wuhan Open, and 2015 China Open defeating Shilin Xu and Xiaodi You, Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu, Chan sisters again respectively.
They replicated their US Open performance at the WTA Finals as they did not lose a single set throughout the tournament and ended the year with a 22 match winning streak.
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