5 titles were up for grabs this week as some of the ATP players took a step closer to qualifying for the World Tour Finals, while others took a step back. On the women’s side, their Tour Finals are already in full swing. In other news, “Jackass of the Week” is back!
Andy Murray claimed his first Erste Bank Open title in Vienna, defeating David Ferrer 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Murray came back from 5-3 down in the final set to win his 30th career title. The win has boosted the Scot’s chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals as he now lies in 8th place – the final spot. It hasn’t been the best year for Andy; he won’t be happy winning only 2 titles in 2014 and losing his Wimbledon crown. Officially booking his spot for the Finals would be a good way to finish the season.
Annika Beck won her first WTA title at the Luxembourg Open. The 20 year-old defeated fourth seed Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova 6-2, 6-1 in the final. “It’s an amazing feeling to win my first WTA title,” said Beck after the win. “I played the final last year and I said I’d do anything to win the title this year.” Beck, ranked No.60 in the world, didn’t drop a set all tournament.
Grigor Dimitrov was unable to successfully defend his Stockholm Open title as he was defeated 7-5, 4-6, 4-6 by Tomas Berdych. It was a great, topsy-turvy match as both players battled it out for over 2 hours. It’s Berdych’s 2nd Stockholm title and he is on course to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. The loss will not help Dimitrov’s chances of qualifying for the Finals, especially after Murray’s win in Vienna. The Bulgarian needs really good results in Basel and Paris to make the top 8.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova became the 4th Russian woman to win the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. She beat Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 to win her 2nd title of the year and her 7th overall. The victory takes Pavlyuchenkova to No.25 in the rankings, just 12 places from her career highest.
US Open champion, Marin Cilic claimed the men’s title in Moscow, defeating Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4 6-4 in the final. Cilic, who has already qualified for London, faced few problems against his opponent as he wrapped up the victory in under 90 minutes. It’s the Croatian’s 13th career title and the 4th of 2014.
The WTA Finals kicked off yesterday in Singapore. The Red Group were the first to take the court. Serena Williams, hot favourite to win the title, defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4. Williams has won 16 straight matches in the tournament, the second longest winning streak after Martina Navratilova’s record of 21 wins. Afterwards, Simona Halep got some revenge for her Wimbledon loss to Eugenie Bouchard as she beat the Canadian 6-2, 6-3. Halep, with heavy bandaging on her thigh, looked fresh and played solidly. Both women are making their debut at the tournament and, by the looks of it, it could be a loooong tournament for Genie.
The White Group is up today as Caroline Wozniacki plays Maria Sharapova in the opening match. They are followed by Petra Kvitova versus Agnieszka Radwanska.
The doubles draw for the Finals was made earlier today. Martina Navratilova was at the ceremony as she unveiled the new trophy that bears her name. The knock-out tournament starts on Wednesday as top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci take on Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. Defending champions Peng Shuai and Su-Wei Hsieh play tournament debutantes Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro. Cara Black and Sania Mirza take on Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones and No.4 seeds Ekaterina Marakova and Elena Vesnina will meet Anastasia Rodionova and Alla Kudryavtseva.
Tarpischev Suspended for Williams Comment
Shamil Tarpischev caused controversy this week during his appearance on the Russian chat show,Evening Urgant, as he referred to Serena and Venus Williams as the “Williams Brothers”. Tarpischev has said that his comments were taken out of context and, in a statement, said “I don’t think this situation is worth all the hoopla because those words were said without malice.” He has since apologised to the sisters.
Serena has responded to his derogatory comments, calling them, “insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist.” Maria Sharapova also commented on the controversy, remarking that they [the comments] were “disrespectful and uncalled for [and] very inappropriate.” The WTA fined him $25,000 – the maximum fine they can give – and issued a 1 year ban for his comments about the players. The International Olympic Committee, which Tarpischev is a member of, is now seeking an explanation from him.
Being the Russian Tennis Federation President, you’d think he would know better! Obviously not. Congratulations Shamil, you are my Jackass of the Week.
Eilís Brennan, Pundit Arena.