Another week has come to an end! Title winners, surprises, upsets, talking points and plenty of action from the week to have a look at!
Next stop, Monterrey!
Monterrey has quickly turned into the draw of players needing some wins. Not only is former world number one Kim Clijsters in action looking for her first win on her return but four of the seeds would happily take a good run in Mexico next week.
Top seed Elina Svitolina is winless in three and has won just four of nine matches this year. Jo Konta is the second seed and injury following her defeat to Svitolina last Autumn in New York and struggles with form this year leaves the British number one searching for a first win in 6 months on the tour, she has Kim Clijsters first.
Sloane Stephens took a wildcard and has come in as the fifth seed, Sloane is slipping down the rankings at speed and hasn’t won in four this year. Sloane lost to local wildcard Renata Zarazua in Acapulco last week so will be hoping to get the job done against American wildcard Emma Navarro this week.
Finally, we get the return of Victoria Azarenka. Vika hasn’t won a singles match since the 13th of August when she won 6-4 1-0 against Belinda Bencic. This is set to be Vika’s first appearance of 2020 having to skip the Australian Open for undisclosed personal reasons.
A very big week for all four!
Khachanov shows humour before Djokovic beating!
Karen Khachanov isn’t in his best of form but you can rely on him to stay realistic and have a bit of fun and that’s what I like to see.
The Russian has been low on confidence but continues to plug away and that deserves a lot of credit. Before his match against Djokovic he had a bit of fun on Twitter…
Djokovic wins in Dubai for a fifth time!
Novak Djokovic’ week on Friday looked like ending in disaster but less than 24 hours later it was with a title.
He brought out his best to see off Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 but missed his best against Gael Monfils trailing 2-6 1-3 before mounting a comeback which involved saving three consecutive match points in a tie-break.
You can read more on his Houdini act against the Frenchman and his clinic against the Greek below:
Men and women were in action this week in Acapulco and here are some thoughts I came away with 🙂
No panic following Felix’ exit to Alex Bolt
I wouldn’t be worried at all about Felix Auger Aliassime’s first round exit to Alex Bolt. He’s put a lot into the last couple of weeks with back to back finals in Marseille and Rotterdam.
The Canadian did have a slowish start to the season before then, I was surprised he didn’t withdraw before hand having put soo much mentally and physically into those couple of weeks.
Welcome back Alex de Minaur!
He didn’t get the win he wanted against Miomir Kecmanovic but it is good to see the Aussie back on the tour after six weeks injured.
He lost 6-3 4-6 3-6 to the Serb player but played very well which will put him in good stead going into Indian Wells and Miami. I hope he gets some wins under his belt in the Davis Cup next weekend but a positive to see Alex back!
Dimitrov and Fritz come away with an excellent week under their belts ending in running into a rampant Rafa!
Quite the week for Dimitrov and Fritz. Both can be unpredictable, Grigor more than Taylor.
I like a lot about the way Grigor plays his game, he knows what he wants to do and tries to make it happen. He dug deep against Mannarino who is such a pest with the way he lashes the forehand and to win against Stan was big for the Bulgarian. He fought well against Nadal but the Spaniard got through 6-3 6-2.
Fritz is an unpredictable player, we know he has it in his locker to defeat big players. He has seen off Fognini, Anderson & Zverev these last 8/9 months. He made back to back finals after Wimbledon and then went on a 6 match losing streak.
He fought hard against some tough opponents in Edmund, Humbert, Millman and Isner to make the final of Acapulco where he lost to Nadal. A little bit more consistency and I could see him knocking around that top 30 consistently.
Zverev falls short to Tommy Paul as the double faults creep in!
It was Zverev’s first outing since the Australian Open where he made the semi-finals and it wasn’t much to write home about.
Tommy Paul made some headlines in Melbourne with a big five set win over Dimitrov and saw off the German 6-3 6-4. The concern for him was that he only 14 double faults in his six matches in Melbourne but hit 17 in the two matches in Acapulco, I just hope this isn’t a theme of his!
It is understood Alex is to play doubles with older brother Mischa at the Indian Wells challenger event next week!
Ons Jabeur continues to impress in 2020
Ons was at it once again, The Tunisian is set to continue to climb the WTA rankings following another big week of determined tennis.
She won four in Doha with a win against the in-form American Jennifer Brady, saw off Pliskova in three sets but fell 6-7 6-7 to Kvitova in the quarter finals.
Ons has had some impressive wins this year resulting in a career high ranking of 44 and is set to debut again at 39 following her first top 10 win of the season over Pliskova in round three.
Pliskova still searching for her best form…
The world number three isn’t playing like the world number three right now. It was a good start to the year as she finished runner-up in Brisbane in a week that saw her beat Riske and Osaka. Since she lost to Madison Keys in the final she has won just four of her last seven.
I find Pliskova a tough one, she digs deep in matches but I feel sometimes puts herself into holes and struggles to get out of them. For a few years we’ve been thinking of her getting to a major final but it isn’t happening and if you look at the in-form players they play variety and play matches on their terms.
A withdrawal against an unfit Andreescu pretty much saved her at the WTA Finals, despite making the semi-finals I didn’t think she did that well and I said in her match against Svitolina instead of trying to make something happen she just sat and waited.
Barty returned but we didn’t see enough of her despite semi-final bout
Ash Barty made her first return to action in Doha following her Australian Open exit.
Ash made it to the semi-finals but I don’t feel like we saw too much of her. She won a big battle against Garbine Muguruza and lost another to Petra Kvitova.
It is an interesting time for Barty to see where she is at as she goes into a period of the season with big points to defend.
Kvitova still looking for her first title since April last year!
Petra Kvitova has had a good start to the season, what has stopped it being great is her level in the business end of events.
Whether it has been semi-finals in Brisbane, quarter finals of the Australian Open or this week the finals in Doha she has fallen away.
It’s mad to think her last title was in April last year and will be hoping to kick on a little bit more at Indian Wells and Miami.
Despite that Stuttgart win I don’t think we have seen the Czech’s best since last years Australian Open where she was games away from winning her third Grand Slam title and finally becoming world number one.
Watson wins in Acapulco in a week where the wildcards impressed as well!
Heather continues to have a very good season on the tour. She began her year ranked 106 and on Monday is back in the top 50 at 49 in the world.
Heather looks so confident on the tour right now which is good to see for British tennis and is the in-form Brit right now. Heather had a good run in Hobart to begin her year making it to the semi-finals but this time in Acapulco won the title in a tense battle against Leylah Fernandez and sealed her first title in almost four years on the tenth match point.
Rafa Nadal wins title No.85 in Acapulco
In a week where Djokovic won in Dubai it was the turn of Nadal in Acapulco. The Spaniard was in fantastic form all week and rarely troubled.
Kecmanovic and Dimitrov did a good job in causing issues for the 32 year old on his way to his first title of the year but Taylor Fritz couldn’t upset him too much as he picked up his first silverware of the year!
Not only title No.85 for Rafa but a record breaker having become the youngest player to win in Acapulco in 2005, he is now the oldest to lift the title in 2020.
It is always fun when umpires get involved in rallies and Kasia Radwan in the chair in Qatar overused an out call with and what a call it was!