With Kevin Anderson and Petra Kvitova picking up titles last week, all eyes now move towards New York where the US Open kicks off this week. Djokovic, Federer and Murray are the favourites for the US Open 2015 Men’s title while Serena Williams’ potential Grand Slam sweep remains the focus of attention. Here is our weekly recap on the world tennis scene.
Djokovic, Federer and Murray Favourites But Serena is the Talk of the US Open
The year’s final Grand Slam gets underway this week in New York and while Serena Williams remains the overwhelming favourite on the women’s side, the men’s title looks like a three-horse race between Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Djokovic comes into the tournament having lost to both Murray and Federer in recent hardcourt events but given the Serb’s mental fortitude, he still remains the man to beat in New York.
Djokovic’s game is ideal for the hardcourts and having won two of three majors this year, his confidence remains supreme at the Slams. The last time a mid-30 year old made it to the final of a Grand Slam was in 2005 when 35-year-old Andre Agassi reached the final in New York, losing to a 24-year-old Roger Federer. Ten years later, Federer will be hoping to replicate what Agassi achieved and perhaps go one step further. The Swiss comes into New York playing some of his best tennis to win in Cincinnati and is back at No. 2 in the rankings which means he will meet Djokovic only in the final. Murray, the newest daddy among the Top 3, won the Rogers Cup prior to the Open and is in good physical shape as well which will make him a tough contender at Flushing Meadows. Outside the Big Three, Rafael Nadal is seeded eighth and is scheduled to meet Djokovic in the quarters. Given his lack of success on clay this season, it would be hard to see Nadal doing much damage on the hardcourts in New York especially with his rivals in fine form. Last year’s finalist Kei Nishikori is seeded fourth and should be in line for another deep run while defending champion Marin Cilic has not looked like the same player as he was in 2014 when he won his first Grand Slam title here in New York.
On the women’s side, the only story everyone is talking about is whether Serena Williams can complete the calendar Slam and tie Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slams. Graf was the last player to accomplish the major sweep in 1988 and the only person standing in Serena’s way would be Serena herself. An elbow injury in recent months did not stop her from winning Wimbledon and Cincinnati and knowing that this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Serena is surely going to leave no stone unturned to achieve history. With World No. 2 Maria Sharapova having withdrawn from the tournament due to injury, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova would be the top rivals for Serena while Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Swiss teen Belinda Bencic would be other players to watch out for.
Kevin Anderson Wins Winston-Salem Title
South Africa’s big-serving Kevin Anderson beat Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-5 to win the Winston-Salem Open title on Sunday – this first title of the season and the third of his career, ending a sevel-finals losing streak. Ranked No. 140 in singles and better known for his doubles play, Herbert’s efforts this week saw him climb into the Top 100 for the first time on Monday after coming through the qualifying draw. The doubles title was picked up by Dominic Inglot and Robert Lindstedt, who defeated Eirc Butorac and Scott Lipsky 6-2, 6-4 in the final. This was their first ATP doubles title as a team.
Petra Kvitova Wins In Connecticut
Czech woman Petra Kvitova, who disclosed recently that she was suffering from mononucleosis earlier in the season, won the Connecticut Open for the third time – beating countrywoman Lucie Safarova 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 in the final. This was Kvitova’s third title of the year and the 17th of her career. Fourth seeds Julia Goerges and Lucie Hradecka defeated Chuang Chia-Jung 6-3, 6-1 to win the doubles title – their first as a team. Goerges now has 5 WTA doubles titles while Hradecka has 19 doubles title to her credit.
There are no changes in this week’s Top 10 as Novak Djokovic continues to reign atop the rankings followed by Federer and Murray while Anderson climbs one spot to No. 14 in the rankings. The Bryans continue to stay on top of the doubles rankings while the entire Top 20 remains static. Serena Williams continues to hold on to the No. 1 spot on the women’s side while Kvitova climbs one spot to No. 4 this week, swapping places with Caroline Wozniacki. Sania Mirza continues to reign atop the doubles rankings followed by Martina Hingis as the Top 10 remains stagnant this week.