The new world No.1 still has an awful lot of work to do!

Reaching world number one is a great achievement for Simona Halep however there is so much work to do.

I am a big fan of Halep but I’d have to say I think she isn’t the best player in the world right now.

Amazingly Simona Halep has never won more than 75% of matches played in a calendar year and her win/loss ratio usually sits at approximately and average of 3/1 which isn’t world number one and Grand Slam quality hence just the two appearances in a Grand Slam final.

There are great parts of her game but inconsistencies which do let her down. The second serve can go from solid to sloppy overnight and that is one aspect that is halting her progress. Every time a major tournament comes around you’d say she is a contender but then at the same time is she a realistic contender or is it because of ranking?

Reaching No.1 is a great achievement, she has fought a lot but if I am going to be picky then there does need to be more steel in the serve and groundstrokes and as world number one comes that added pressure and in Singapore all eyes will be on the top player and you can’t go missing in Singapore.

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CarGar could be flying whilst Konta might be grounded again!

Caroline Garcia has certainly made it interesting on the WTA tour these last couple of weeks. Defeats for top players looked like it would be a formality for Konta to go through to Singapore but her boarding pass is being held right now as Caroline is flying in more ways the one and Singapore is likely for the Frenchwoman.

Konta is on a five match losing streak and on a run like this you can’t say a place in the final 8 is warranted, things have fallen apart since Wimbledon and maybe a bit of that ‘what if?’ is in her mind?

For Caroline she was once tipped by Andy Murray to be the next big thing on the tour and comments like that are nice to receive but it adds unnecessary pressure from many in the media to push and then jump when they fall.

It is hard to forget she is only 23 and turns 24 in a couple of weeks time. To win the double in Wuhan and Beijing winning two titles in two weeks was unthinkable for her and is riding the wave and unless Konta makes the final in Moscow Caroline is flying to Singapore.

Through the tough times she believed and is now a champion and it might only just be beginning!

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All roads lead to Melbourne!

The season ending championships are edging closer on both the WTA tour and the ATP tour. The top 8 on the WTA tour will head to Singapore and on the ATP the O2 in London awaits but some high profile names will be missing.

There will be no Sharapova, Murray, Serena, Djokovic, Vika, Wawrinka, Petra and Nishikori to name just a handful of players missing for various number of reasons but no matter what they are up to right now all roads will lead and most likely end up in Melbourne.

Some of them will have to rely on wildcards most likely to play in Melbourne but for others a lower ranking will see them potentially seeded outside top 15 which sets up a number of potential early meeting against another top player.

At this time the only players we are unsure of seeing in Melbourne are Vika, Serena and Kei but i would be surprised if just one of them doesn’t make it to the first major of 2018.

Next year is still a few months away but it is shaping up to be an exciting year on the tour, you have the comebacks and the rising stars battling it out for what is set to be an incredible year beginning down under!

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Kvitova shows Singapore what they will miss after a stunning performance against Wozniacki

The season ender in Singapore is around the corner. One player who unfortunately won’t be there is Petra Kvitova. After missing half the season due to the horrible events she went through at home around Christmas the former Wimbledon champion has bounced back in style and her tennis has been incredible.

Incredible was the word to finish the match against Wozniacki, the Dane was pushed side to side throughout the match as Petra hit winner after winner after winner on route to the next round.

Wozniacki plays quite defensive behind the baseline and there is nothing wrong with this style but one thing I always say you have to do is ask questions but Caro never found anything to move her forward from the baseline and cause trouble or hit the ball deep and push her back it was too comfortable.

I believe during the second set Jo Durie on BTSport said it’s like she has a magnet with those lines she painted them time and time again but importantly it was her timing that did it for her and it wasn’t done to power as she timed the ball perfectly time and time again.

It is a shame Petra won’t be in Singapore but it gives us a lot to look forward to next season when the Race will be more intense as we expect to see more of Petra, Vika, Serena and Maria in 2018.

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7 finals, 1 title but this season has been a success for Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki has not been a stranger to finals this year but has been a stranger to titles. Before arriving in Tokyo the Dane was 0/6 in the finals this year but for a player who has featured in almost 800 matches at 27 years old she has been through a lot.

This title in Tokyo was another landmark for Caro not only her 26th career title but also her 10th year running winning a title on the tour and wins against Cibulkova and Muguruza propelled her to 10 top 10 wins this calendar year which is a career high for her.

It’s too easy to look at the stats from the finals and see 7 finals and 1 titles and can quickly turn around and say a poor year but they would be unfair and naïve.

US Open last year Caro was outside top 60 in the world and is now guaranteed to be at the WTA Finals in Singapore next month and has managed to stay injury free and on a whole I would say it has been a success.

The only issue I would have is Grand Slams especially the US Open. Caro and the US Open is such a special time for her and it was in a fact that securing her 100th grand slam singles win and qualify for the WTA Finals for the first time in three years.

There is still so much to play for and picking up another titles, record number of top 10 years and a return to the WTA finals is a success a better run in New York would have been nice to see but no-one has a ‘perfect season’ but it can get better in the final 5 weeks.

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Confidence crisis for Mladenovic but she will be back!

In my last piece about Kristina Mladenovic I wrote that everything was coming together in her game and I stand by that despite a crisis of confidence for the 24 year old.

Ever since her defeat to Timea Bacsinscky at Roland Garros her home slam where many expected more it has fallen apart for her. It may be looked as the one that got away but she has to move on and for some players that could be one day, one week, one month or four you just don’t know.

If anything with no Serena, Maria (at the time) Azarenka players must put extra pressure on themselves!

At the moment Kiki is on a seven match loosing streak and lost her last match in Tokyo 6-0 6-0.

Watching the match you can tell the game is there but she doesn’t look confident at all and it will turn around at some point and sometimes you have to win against a good opponent playing badly in all honesty and think this is coming back together.

For me a match can be summed up by a point and this was match point. Down 0-6 0-5 we saw her approach the net and the play leading up to her approaching the net was good but when Quang played that forehand it went straight past her in what looked like a lack of confidence.

Every top player has been there, the ranking drops and it then requires more work and I believe she will get back to the level we saw in the first half of the year.

Unfortunately reading on social media some seem to find the ‘funny’ side of a player being on a run like this which is sad but that is the world we live in now where having a laugh at someone else’s expense seems to be the ‘cool’ thing and it isn’t.

The run is unfortunate for Kiki but it’s about believing and I believe she will get out of this run soon and this time next year will be easily a top 15 ranked player.

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Sloane’s story is one that will never be topped!

Stories in tennis don’t come better. We’ve had so many over the last few years. Return of Petra Ktvitova, Flavia Pennetta’s New York Triumph, Venus Williams’ brilliance and of course Monica Puig’s Gold in Rio but nothing will top Sloane Stephens winning the US Open.

Sloane missed 11 months of tennis and recently returned to Toronto where she went on a roll and it continued coming into Flushing Meadows. When Sloane returned she was ranked at 957 in the world and in less than a month pulled it down to 83 in the world which is what she came into New York ranked and will finish the fortnight at Flushing Meadows ranked around 17 in the world.

It didn’t go to plan for Keys who looked to be hindered by this leg strap and went big too soon on too many occasions but Sloane was impeccable and I don’t think a fully fit Madison Keys could have defeated her compatriot today.

It’s Sloane’s day in New York and on this evidence we could see many more!

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