Mag By Craig Gabriel
YEAR IN REVIEW - PART TWO
The Wimbledon men’s final was the best men’s match of the year. It was gripping, it was dramatic, it was excitement personified, there was a comeback and it was the best final since the famed 2008 final when Rafa Nadal beat Roger Federer. Federer was there again but this time the foe was Novak Djokovic who saved two championship points to win. The tennis was from the stratosphere and it was he first time a fifth set tiebreak was played in a Wimbledon final 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12.
The ladies final once again saw Serena Williams denied from equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 majors as Simona Halep was in the zone as she won easily and became the first Romanian to win The Championships in singles.
The month started with the men in Montreal and the women in Toronto. Rafa Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev who was playing his second final in as many weeks; this month was the start of the Russian’s purple patch. Bianco Andreescu won Toronto beating Serena Williams 3-1, the American retiring with a back issue. Andreescu became the first Canadian woman in 50 years to win in Canada.
Medvedev reached his third straight final and this time won in Cincinnati, his first Masters 1000 title – he beat Novak Djokovic form a set down and David Goffin in the last two rounds. The Cincy women’s event went to Madison Keys over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The US Open was in full swing and seeds were falling all over the place. Naomi Osaka had already crashed to Belinda Bencic and Ash Barty had fallen to Wang Qiang. The men’s was no different as Novak Djokovic retired against Stan Wawrinka after two sets and three games and Roger Federer lost in five to Grigor Dimitrov.
The women’s final came down to Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams and the Canadian teen was brilliant again as Williams was prevented yet again from winning a 24th major. It’s been a remarkable rise for Andreescu, a year she lost in the first round of qualifying.
The men’s final was another classic as Rafa Nadal scraped past Daniil Medvedev. It looked like Nadal would romp home; he led by two sets to love and a break. But in the most tremendous comeback the Russian in his fourth straight final pushed it to a fifth and was up a break but Nadal snuck out of it for the 19th major.
Two weeks later as part of Team Europe they two teamed up to win the Laver Cup over Team World in a nail-biting finish 13-11.
The Rolex Shanghai Masters was quite a story. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer bowe3d out earlier than expected but the semis line-up highlighted tennis’ future. Not one player was over 23 – Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev. Medvedev went on to win his second Masters 1000 beating Zverev comfortably.
Ash Barty created some history. She won the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in her debut year beating Elina Svitolina and earned the biggest cheque in history $US4.2million and ended the year World No.1 and is the first Australian woman to do that.
Novak Djokovic won the Rolex Paris Masters but lost the No.1 ranking to Rafa Nadal.
From out of the blue 18-year-old Jannick Sinner of Italy claimed the Next Gen Finals beating Alex de Minaur.
France ended a 16-year drought by beating Australia in the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas 3-2 in Perth with Kiki Mladenovic being the player of the series. The final went down to the deciding doubles rubber.
At the ATP Finals in London, Stefanos Tsitsipas capped a brilliant year by becoming the youngest champion in a decade defeating Dominic Thiem 7-6 in the final set. It was a super final. He also beat Roger Federer. This ATP Finals was dominated by the young guns. It was the first time since Miami 2010 Federer, Djokovic or Nadal all played and none made the final.
The season ended with the new look Davis Cup Finals in Madrid. Each tie was two singles and a doubles and round robin till the elimination quarters. Spain and Canada played the final and Spain won after the two singles.
While no tennis was played Caroline Wozniacki announced her retirement. The former World No.1 will play her last event at the Australian Open, the one major she won.