Sharapova Closes on No. 1 Serena After Brisbane Title
While world No. 1 Serena Williams was busy not winning the Hopman Cup exhibition this week, Maria Sharapova started the year collecting WTA Rankings points, on Saturday grinding out a win against fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Brisbane International in Australia.
With the win the world No. 2 Sharapova moved to within 681 points of the world No. 1 Williams, possibly getting a shot at the top ranking during the Australian Open. It was only her second time winning a WTA title in Australia after the Australian Open in 2008.
“She was doing a lot of things better in the first set, and she deserved to win the first set, but I hung in there,” said Sharapova, who improved to 9-4 career against Ivanovic, winning the last two meetings.
The doubles title went to Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki who defeated Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik 6-2, 7-5 in the final.
Venus Continues Dominance Over Woz with Auckland Title
Venus Williams came from a set down to improve to a perfect 6-0 career against fellow former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, defeating the Dane 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
It was the first career set Williams had lost to Wozniacki, going on to win her 46th career WTA title, but not so easily. Williams found herself down a set and a break early in the second.
“In the first set she was serving so well,” Venus said. “She had an amazing first serve percentage, all those amazing passing shots, even her mis-hits were too good. But I just tried to stay level-headed in the second set and focus on holding, and cut down on my unforced errors too, and it worked for me today.”
Venus improved to 46-30 in finals, while Wozniacki fell to 22-16. The doubles title went to the world No. 1 team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy who in the final topped Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova 6-2, 6-1.
Halep Overcomes Illness to Collect WTA Shenzhen Crown
Top-seeded Simona Halep overcame illness in the final at Shenzhen, defeating No. 8 seed Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-2 for the title in China, her ninth career WTA crown.
“I wasn’t feeling very well before the match — I was a little bit sick — so I told myself I have nothing to lose, just go on court, be relaxed, stay focused and fight for every point,” Halep said.
Bacsinszky upset No. 4-ranked Petra Kvitova to reach her first WTA final since 2010.
In the doubles final the Kichenok twins of the Ukraine — Lyudmyla and Nadiia — became just the second twins to win a WTA doubles title together, defeating Liang Chen and Wang Yafan of China 6-4, 7-6(6).
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