The 2014 Australian Open sure didn't lack in surprises, joy and celebration, but there were those whose performances were far from satisfactory. Let's see which titles our dear contributor Omair gave to our WTA stars based on their results this past fortnight. Do you agree with Omair's opinion?
It was a good Australian Open. There were some good entertaining matches and quite a few surprises as well. Petra Kvitova as always being the unpredictable player she is, lost in the first round, so did Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Sam Stosur and Ana Ivanovic rocked the Rod Laver Arena in their third-round clash. Dominika Cibulkova blasted her opponents off court. Quality, drama, upsets, controversies, hype – there was everything in this Australian Open, however, one thing for certain is that the Australian Open got a truly deserving champion in Li Na. Li not only let her racquet do the talking, but also delivered the most amazing acceptance speech ever, one that will be extremely tough to beat.
LI NA – THE AUSSIE PRINCESS
Li made it third time lucky and joined the list of multiple Slam winners by winning her second Grand Slam, her first being the Roland Garros 2011 crown.
There have been a lot of people questioning Li’s Australian Open title, saying she did not beat any Top 20 player. Have those people already forgotten that Li beat four Top 10 opponents en route to her Roland Garros trophy and that she has been within a few games of winning this trophy two times before as well (in 2011 and 2013). The most important thing to note is that people do not understand that she can only beat the player on the other side of the net. She has kept up her side of the bid by making it to the match. It is not her fault that other top players lost early.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA – SMALL SURPRISE PACKAGE
Cibulkova was on fire for the last two weeks. It was great seeing her blasting winners on court and her opponents off court. She defeated three Top 5 players to make the final and become the first ever Slovakian player to reach a Grand Slam final.
Just like Li and Serena have proved time and again that age does not matter, Cibulkova has proved that height does not matter in tennis.
EUGENIE BOUCHARD and GARBINE MUGURUZA – BREAKOUT OF THE TOURNAMENT
By making the semifinals of the Australian Open in just her fourth Grand Slam appearance, Bouchard proved that she is one of the best of her age group and is the one to keep an eye on. Her mental strength and the fighting spirit will see her win majors one day (at least this is what appears to be at the moment).
Muguruza made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open, by beating former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. Muguruza has the game to be a future Slam winner, however, whether she will win one, only time can tell us.
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA – MISS LOST OPPORTUNITY
Radwanska showed that she is the finesse queen when she beat heavy favorite Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals. It was the first time she made the semifinals at the Australian Open. However, she completely zoned out against a zoned in Cibulkova in the semis.
The positive here is that Radwanska showed that she can win against the heavy hitters, the point of concern is how many more such opportunities she is going to get and will she ever make use of such opportunity if she gets it again? She is too good a player not to win a Slam.
ANA IVANOVIC and FLAVIA PENNETTA – COMEBACK PLAYER
All the fans of Ivanovic will agree with me that it was a great sight seeing Ivanovic hit winners from seemingly every corner of the court in beating Stosur and Serena (both US Open champions, one reigning and one former) back to back. However, as we have seen in the past, her nerves got the better of her in the quarterfinal against Bouchard.
However, it was a long-awaited revival of Ivanovic, who finally got a win over a Top 5 player after a lengthy period (and her first ever over Serena). Here is to the hoping that she continues this form for the rest of the season.
Pennetta finally made the quarterfinals of a Slam outside the USA. Like Ivanovic, Pennetta is heavy hitter and it was good to see her making this run at this age. She lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Li.
SIMONA HALEP – HOMECOMING
There was a lot of controversy surrounding Halep being declared as the most improved player of the year last year. The debating point were her Grand Slam results. Her six titles in 2013, second only to Serena Williams, were overshadowed by her poor results at majors. Simona proved her doubters wrong by making her first Grand Slam quarterfinal (she fell victim to her nerves and a zoned in Cibulkova)
CASEY DELLACQUA – MISS OPPORTUNITY
Casey Dellacqua had a dream run at the Australian Open making it to the fourth round. She lost in three sets to the Genie out of the bottle in the fourth round. It was great seeing her prove herself the right choice for the wildcard.
EKATERINA MAKAROVA– MISS CONSISTENCY
Makarova made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for two straight years, and fell one match short of making it three straight years as she fell victim to the eventual champion Li Na in the fourth round.
LUCIE SAFAROVA – I MADE YOU
Safarova is a very dangerous player and she gave Li everything in the third round match. She held a match point against Li, but her backhand down the line went just wide and the rest is history.
ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES – MY TIME WILL COME (WILL IT?)
This was the sixth straight Slam where AMG failed to move beyond the first round. She fell in straight sets to Irina Falconi.
BELINDA BENCIC AND ANA KONJUH – YOUNGSTERS TO WATCH
Bencic beat Kimiko Date Krumm, the oldest woman in the draw, in the first round. Konjuh learned a lesson from Li in the first-round loss, while Bencic learned the same lesson in the second-round loss at the hands of Li. However, it was good to see both players who have the potential to be future top players.
DANIELA HANTUCHOVA– CRY BABY
Hantuchova’s comments regarding her Slam career being destroyed by the Williams sisters before her third round clash against Serena Williams was completely uncalled for. Williamses are there to play and other players have found a way to beat them at times, so you have to deal with it rather than complaining about it. To be the best, you have to beat the best.
What is your take on this year’s Australian Open?
If you liked this article, check out more Omair's articles in Omair's Corner on Women's Tennis Blog, as well as his Tennis Statistics blog. (photos: ©Neal Trousdale, JJ Tennis, Robertus Pudyanto, Getty Images, Australian Open)