Serena, Nadal, Ivanovic, Li Win WTA/ATP Titles
by Staff | January 4th, 2014, 5:35 pm

Serena Finishes Sharapova-Azarenka 1-2 Punch to Win Brisbane

If world No. 1 Serena Williams was looking to make a statement in the first tournament of the year at the Brisbane International, consider it made. After defeating former No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, the American beat former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 in the final, her top two adversaries, without dropping a set.
“It’s definitely always interesting to play someone like Victoria,” Serena said. “I know her game, I know what she does — but she goes out and improves, so every time I go out there and play her, things I thought were her weaknesses are now her strengths.” Translation: ‘Whatever she does to improve, I will beat her.’

The first player in the history of the Brisbane tournament to successfully defend a title, Serena improved to 58-17 in career finals, 14-3 career against Azarenka, and extended a win streak continued from 2013 to now 22 matches. Azarenka, who will stay at the No. 2 spot on the WTA Rankings, dropped to 17-15 in career finals.

A First for Nadal in Doha Title Victory Saturday

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal captured his first Doha title on Saturday, defeating unseeded Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2 for his 61st career crown at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

“Rafa put pressure on me from the first point,” Monfils said. “He was very aggressive from the first game and it was tougher for me to adjust. It’s always tough to play against him and at the end he was a bit better than me.” Monfils fell to 4-16 in career finals after a third runner-up effort in Doha.

“Every victory is important and the title today means a lot to me,” Nadal said. “It is the first time in my career that I am able to start the season with a victory. That’s always important.”

Ivanovic Downs Determined Venus in 3 for Auckland Crown

In a battle of two former No. 1s looking to again claim spots in the Top 10 on the WTA tour, No. 2 seed Ana Ivanovic outlasted unseeded Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in Auckland, New Zealand for the title at the ASB Classic.

For Ivanovic it was a first title since Bali in 2011. For Williams it was a missed opportunity to claim her first title since Luxembourg in 2012.

“Coming into this week I didn’t really have any expectations,” said Ivanovic, who is projected to rise to No. 14 on the WTA Rankings. “I didn’t even think about making the finals or winning it. I just tried my best, and I felt very comfortable here…I’m just happy that after losing that second set I managed to stay calm and close it out.”

Ivanovic improved to 12-5 in career finals, while Williams dropped to 44-28. “Today for me it was all about fighting, because I didn’t feel I was playing my best,” said Williams, who fought off a set point in the second to extend the match to three sets. “I fought as hard as I could no matter what the score was, but I just ran into a better player today.”

Li Na Successfully Defends Shenzhen, Drops Peng to 0-6 Career

Top-seeded Li Na won the all-Chinese final on Saturday at the Shenzhen Open in China, defeating No. 5-seeded Peng Shuai 6-4, 7-5.

“I’m happy to defend my title for the first time,” Li said. “It proved I can do it. Everything is moving in the right direction and after this tournament I’m going to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open.”

Li improved to 8-11 in career finals after winning a third career title in China. Peng fell to 0-6 career in WTA finals.

“I can get very tentative in matches, and so my coach is always telling me to not play tentative, to persevere,” said Peng, who fought through a leg injury during the final.

You Might Like:
Simona Halep: I’m Not Afraid To Play Serena Again!!!
Ana Ivanovic Has A New Coach, His Name Is Dejan Petrovic
WTA Finals: Halep Makes Semis, Will She Allow Serena To Join Her?
In Fight For No. 1, Serena Williams Will Test Shoulder And Play Cincinnati
What Do Federer, Serena Cincy Titles Mean for US Open?

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

16 Comments for Serena, Nadal, Ivanovic, Li Win WTA/ATP Titles

Brando Says:

La Monf is a great guy and it really was good to see him push Rafa strongly in the final.

The way Rafa spoke of him and met him with warmth at the net suggests that Rafa likes Gael alot as player and individual.

And I think most players do- certainly Muzza for starters!

He’s a great guy and a great talent I just hope he can win a MS event in his career as his talent merits some major trophy for his career.

He seemed physically strong today which was great to see and his shot making- at times- was outrageously good.

the DA Says:

Monfils just withdrew from Auckland citing “fatigue”. The start of the season and he’s fatigued? The best news is that he’s joining forces with Dustin Brown to play doubles at AO. They better be on a televised court!

Okiegal Says:

I think Mats has calmed Gael down a bit. He looked a lot more serious in this match……not any clowning around today. He has a lot of talent, but just doesn’t seem to take playing tennis as serious as he needs to … be a contender. I realize he has had some injuries. Good luck to him and Mats!!

Anna Says:

I read somewhere that Rafa, Gael and Tsonga have hung out from time to time. Actually, Rafa seems to be friends with a lot of the French players. A Monfils, Brown doubles pairing would be a treat!

Congrats to Rafa for winning his first tournament of the season. The falcon alludes him no more.

Anna Says:

Was also good to see Ana buckle down and get the win today. I’m a big Venus fan, but Ana has had trouble closing out matches in spite of improving her game quite a bit last year. I’d love to see her work herself back up the rankings.

Anna Says:

DA – Gael needs a break before the AO. Anyone seriously looking to get into the 2nd week of the tournament should not be playing next week. Novak is giving himself two full weeks off without match play, which I personally think is a smart move.

Michael Says:

Congratulations to all the winners especially Rafa who has started 2014 with a bang. It should be a nice augury for the long season ahead.

Perfect fan Says:

Great win by hewitt, the old war horse :) deserves a pat to his back.

Fed still has lot to work on his game, esp. the BH side….he looks very vulnerable during the start of match, which r not good signs b4 the start of the upcoming big tourneys. Anyways, BOL roger….allez!

the DA Says:

Well that was a weird match. Hewitt beats Federer. I don’t recall seeing a more horrible start by Fed in an opening set. He fought back to win the 2nd and despite having umpteen BPs couldn’t convert. He looked so good all week but it all misfired today. Hewitt deserved it though – he was so clutch in all those BPs.

Margot Says:

@the DA
Did u c those sporting photos? Posted link, from Guardian, on an Andy thread. First 2 are of A.-beautiful but also a spectacular one of Rafa at 15.
Well done Hewitt. A gr8 boost b4 AO. Hope he gets a decent draw.

Maestro Fed Says:

Good performance by Roger at Brisbane. Serve is fine and his ground strokes are ok after the racket change.
Overall a good result at this age being family man with kids.
Could have been much better had he won the finals.

van orten Says:

it is not about form or other stuff..fed showed again why I do not believe anything will change this year… the typical I have at beginning of the deciding set a lot of break points and get broken after not taking them and lose without knowing how…very dissapointed ..I hope this art of losing could finally is bad for my heart.. I hate this

the DA Says:

@ Margot – Yes, I did see them. Both are lovely but the second one is sensational.

Queen Says:

Maestro Fed, do not forget Fed lost to Hewitt who is an “old man” and family man himself so find some other excuse than his age and a bunch of kids. And no, Fed did not play well at all in this match.

Slice Tennis Says:

LOL….excuse mongers are at work again.
Hewitt has three kids…one more than Federer.

If Federer cannot even beat his weak era buddy, what else he can do now.

Okiegal Says:

Hewitt is the older man……from January to August! The older guy won! Let’s hear it for the older dudes! It’s good to see them still playing. Leyton and Roger are still a delight to watch….I font care how old the are!!

Top story: Murray Overcomes Hurkacz In Vienna; Berrettini Gets Into Turin