The WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells finished this weekend and I was delighted to celebrate title number 15 for Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the women’s doubles. Following on from winning the 2023 Australian Open title, this cemented them even more firmly as the undisputed number one team, and giving them an 11-0 record this year,
The women’s singles champion was Elena Rybakina who defeated Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets for her first WTA1000 level title.
Today was the final of the Dubai Duty Free classic WTA1000 in Dubai, the first 1000 level event of the year. It was won superbly, by Barbara Krejcikova who beat Iga Świątek, the world number one and hot favourite, in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to give a Krejcikova the 6th singles title of her career and her first WTA1000 level title. Krejcikova also achieved something remarkable – beating the three top ranked players in one week – actually on successive days!
It’s the end of January 2023, and after one month of the new season plenty has happened.
The Australian Open 2023 was very entertaining and ended with a great win for Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka has been a top-10 player for five years but has always fallen short in Grand Slams. It took several years for her to make a second week, but she has made a few semifinals, but stumbled at that stage. Notably, the 2021 US Open where she allowed Layla Fernandez back into the match and even the 2022 US Open saw her lead Swiatek by a set but lose. However, she began the 2023 season really well. She took the title in Adelaide and went through to the Australian Open final without dropping a set.
Her opponent in the final was the Wimbledon champion, Elena Rybakina, who has been a players I’ve admired for a while. Rybakina backed up her Wimbledon win very very well with a fantastic run to the final. A run that included a very convincing win over the world number one Iga Świątek.
So the WTA season 2022 has finally ended. Since the last entry, the main event was the Year End Championships which saw Caroline Garcia top a terrific second half of 2022 with the singles title and a surprise defeat for dominant number 1, Iga Swiatek. My main interest was in the doubles, but sadly ended in a disappointing defeat for my favourite doubles team, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. The pair cruised through the group stages and the semi-final and looked on course to retain the title however the team of Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudermatova pipped them at the post in the match tie break of the final.
Well Krejcikova fans, what another week it was! Barbora Krejcikova did something nobody else has managed in 2022: winning a final against world number 1, Iga Swiatek. After taking the title in Tallinn last week, Krejcikova followed up with an even more impressive run and her first WTA 500 level title.
Coming into this match, it was a little worrying for us Krejcikova fans. Would this be a let down? Barbora’s return to form over the last few weeks has been fantastic, but Iga in a final? With a massive crowd of Polish fans?
After a difficult 2022 Barbara Krejcikova found her form this week in Tallinn, Estonia. A new event due to the cancellation of the China swing, this event was a big deal for Estonian tennis fans and their top players, Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit. However, the big story was the return of Barbora Krejcikova to the winners circle in singles with this title, her fourth WTA singles title overall and her first of the year. And it was the manner of that victory that was notable. This is a WTA 250 event but Krejcikova won it in impressive style – her first four opponents were players she had never beaten before.
In my list of favourite tennis players, Katerina Siniakova is usually mainly part of the doubles team I cheer for most. The 2022 US Open, saw Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova take the title to complete an amazing set this year. They have won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, three Grand Slams, 18 matches undefeated. The only reason they could not defend the Roland-Garros title was because Krejcikova contracted Covid. Amazing dominance and it completes a sixth Grand Slam women’s doubles title for the pair along with an Olympic gold medal and the 2021 year end championship. Truly one of the best teams of recent years.
Since the last column, it has been a pretty good time to be a Petra Kvitova fan! After a disappointing clay court season, Kvitova took a loss to Beatriz Haddad Maia in R1 of the Birmingham tournament – a tournament Petra has won twice – the omens were not good. What an absolute joy then that she entered the WTA 500 event in Eastbourne and won her 29th title in amazing style!
So the Miami tournament was a pretty good one for Petra Kvitova, where she made the quarter finals, losing out to eventual champion and new world number 1 Iga Swiatek.
The match that made us Petra fans rejoice was the 4th round win over Veronika Kudermatova. Petra won a tight first set in the tie break but quickly fell 0-4, 0-40 down. A final set seemed inevitable but amazingly she found her best fighting form and won the next 6 games to win 7-6, 6-4. What was most encouraging is Petra seemed to have her confidence, her mojo back!
A bombshell in the tennis world today as world number 1 and the reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from tennis. Aged just 25, Barty has always been an atypical tennis player. A top junior snd successful doubles player as a teenager, Barty walked away from tennis after finding the grind of the tour not conducive to her mental health. Barty was away for a couple of years, and played cricket in her native Australia, before returning to the tour in 2016
I first saw Barty live at the Birmingham WTA event, beating Garbiñe Muguruza in the semi-finals. I was paying more attention to Petra Kvitova, who beat Barty the following day in the final – her first title after returning from the hand injury sustained in a knife attack. That fairy tale return victory was a three set battle with Barty. Indeed, Petra vs Ash has been a compelling rivalry over the last few years.