Former world no. 1 Venus Williams was back in the spotlight by bagging her biggest WTA title in more than 5 years, while David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych won titles in Asia, strengthening their hopes of making it to the ATP Tour Finals in London. Here is our recap of the week from the world of tennis.
Venus Williams wins 47th career title
Serena Williams may have shut down for the season but a Williams was still left holding the title at the WTA Wuhan Open – one of the 5 premier mandatory events on the WTA circuit. 35 year old Venus Williams showed she still had some fire left in her by claiming her biggest title in more than 5 years, when Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza retired in the final while trailing 3-6, 0-3 on Saturday. Williams, who suffers from an energy sapping autoimmune disease, looked exhausted herself in the final after needing more than two and a half hours in each of her previous matches, which included a family revenge win over Roberta Vinci, who ended Serena’s historic Grand Slam bid at the US Open.
The win was the 47th WTA title of her career, and sees her climb to no. 14 in the WTA rankings and no. 9 in the WTA race to Singapore, which means she could very well qualify for the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore. It did not turn out to be a good week for top seed Simona Halep, who lost to Brit Johanna Konta in the third round and second seed Maria Sharapova, who retired with an injury in her first match since Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, 20 year old Nao Hibino secured a breakthrough win at the WTA Tashkent Open without so much as dropping a set all week. Playing in only her second WTA main event draw, Hibino defeated Croatian teenager Donna Vekic 6-2, 6-2 to win the title, and also jump into the top 100 for the fist time, while also becoming the top ranked player from Japan in the process. Hibino commented after the win,
“I’m so happy to win my first WTA title here and I hope I can come back next year! I didn’t expect this result at the beginning of the week. I can’t believe it. I was just focusing on my service games against all of my opponents, and trying not to get broken, playing aggressive and not changing my game from the first round to here; so I’m just really happy with the result.”
On the doubles side, top ranked Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated the Romanian duo Irina – Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-3 to win the Wuhan doubles crown – their 13th match win in a row, third title in a row and the seventh of their partnership which began in March. Sania now has 30 WTA doubles titles and Hingis owns 48. In Tashkent, Margarita Gasparyan and Alexandra Panova beat Vera Dushevina and Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 3-6, 10-3 in the final. This was Gasparyan’s second and Panova’s sixth WTA title respectively.
David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych wins Titles in Asia
Spanish warhorse David Ferrer won his fourth title of the season on Sunday, beating compatriot Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 7-5 in the final. It was the 15th meeting between the two Spaniards, with Ferrer now leading their rivalry 9-6. The 33 year old Ferrer earned 250 ATP ranking points, which will help him in his chase for one of the eight spots in the season ending ATP World Tour Finals in London. Ferrer has missed nearly three months of the season due to an elbow injury which makes his 44 – 10 record even more remarkable this season. It was also a good week for troubled Australian Nick Kyrgios, who made the semi-finals before bowing out to Lopez in two tie-breaks. This was only the second time that the Aussie has made it to the semi-finals of an ATP event in 2015.
Tomas Berdych won his first title of the season as he beat the Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez in straight sets in the final of the rain-delayed Shenzhen Open. With the win, Berdych solidifies his fifth position in the race to the ATP World Tour Finals in London, where he will be hoping to qualify for the sixth year in a row.
Treat Huey and Henri Kontinen won the doubles title in Kuala Lampur, with a 7-6, 6-2 win over top seeds Rajeev Ram/Raven Klaasen to win their second title in as many weeks. Colin Fleming/Jonathan Elrich defeated Chris Guccione/Andre Sa 6-1, 6-7, 10-6 to win the Shenzhen Open doubles title; this was Fleming’s eighth career doubles title and the 18th for Elrich.
Novak Djokovic maintains his stranglehold over the singles top spot, followed by Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. The only change in the top 10 sees David Ferrer moving 1 spot to no. 7, swapping places with Rafael Nadal. Feliciano Lopez climbs 2 spots to no. 15, while Garcia Lopez is up 3 spots to no. 26 and Kyrgios is up 7 spots to no. 34. In the doubles, the Bryan brothers are still at no. 1 while John Peers, Nicolas Mahut and Nenad Zimonjic climb up one spot each to no. 8, 9 and 10 respectively.
Serena Williams is assured of ending the season as world number one even as her closest rivals, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova struggle with injuries. Garbine Muguruza is up 3 spots to a career-best no. 5 while Wuhan champ Venus is up 10 spots to no. 14. Sania Mirza continues to retain numero uno status in the doubles rankings, followed by partner Hingis.