Wozniacki finishes Season on high, Federer wins in Basel and Pouille finds form!

What a finish to the season for Wozniacki as she claimed the biggest title of her career by winning the WTA Finals in Singapore. The Dane was in superb form all week with the only blemish on her record being the defeat to Caroline Garcia, in her final game of the round robin groups. She was absolutely fantastic in her opening two games as she hammered both Elina Svitolina and then Simona Halep 6/2 6/0. Garcia went on to win the Red Group having lost to Halep in her opening match, gutsy wins over both Svitolina and Wozniacki followed, both 7/5 in the decider. Halep’s promising start against Garcia was a false dawn as she ended up finishing bottom of the group, losing her last match to Svitolina! The White Group was won by Karolina Pliskova, who came out of the stalls flying with 6/2 6/2 victories over both Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza. She lost her final group match to Jelena Ostapenko, who was only playing for pride by that stage.  It meant that Muguruza and Williams had a winner takes all encounter, the winner advancing to the semi-finals. Muguruza was breaks up in both sets but couldn’t put Venus away, losing 7/5 6/4.

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The Dane’s newfound aggressive style won the day in the last two rounds, coming back from 3/5* down in the opener against Karolina Pliskova to win in straights, then putting in yet another fine serving display to beat Venus Williams in Sundays final! Venus fought back from 4/6 *0/5 to get it back on serve in the second. The American once again showed a lot of heart, especially after her 3 set win over Garcia on Saturday, but Wozniacki over the course of the week was the standout player and a totally deserved winner of the event! There have certainly been signs that Caro is making the right adjustments to her game and if this continues, greater things are in-store! She played very well in retaining her title in Tokyo in September and this was even more impressive! Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova won the doubles title beating Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson in the final.

Lucas Pouille won in Vienna, I think this performance has been coming from the Frenchman with the way he has been playing the last few weeks. He had match points against Rafa in Beijing remember. I actually backed Pouille this week, but missed the 25s and ended up taking 10s, after the withdrawal of Dimitrov and the early losses to both Anderson and Querrey in the bottom half. Second seed and home favourite, Dominic Thiem lost second round to Gasquet and this paved the way for Pouille, who’s all court, all action game was too much for Ofner, Garcia-Lopez and then Gasquet! He did drop the opening set against Brit Kyle Edmund in the semi but ultimately proved too consistent. In the final, he beat compatriot Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6/1 6/4. Tsonga had been through some tough matches with three sets wins over Khachanov and Dzumhur before beating top seed Alex Zverev and Philipp Kohlschreiber on his way to the final. It wasn’t Jo’s best performance by any stretch but Pouille deserves a lot of credit. This was a very solid performance in which he didn’t lose his serve once and showed excellent variation once again in his game! The 23-year-old still has a big future ahead of him and doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves right now IMO! For Tsonga, it is a huge dent in his bid to qualify for the finals at the O2!

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Roger Federer won his eighth title in Basle! You always felt that Juan Martin Del Potro was his biggest obstacle and so it proved as he faced the Argentine in the final. It wasn’t plain sailing for Federer, he dropped sets against both Mannarino in the quarter’s and Delpo, who pushed him all the way in Sunday’s final! There were more routine victories over Tiafoe and Paire in the early rounds and he comfortably hammered David Goffin 6/1 6/2 in the semis. For Del Potro there were some battles throughout the week, the Argentine once again found a way to win though. Joao Sousa, Julien Benneteau and Roberto Bautista Agut were all edged out, before raising his level in the semi against second seed Marin Cilic and then against the Fed-Express in the final. His loss to Federer means he has to win Paris to guarantee his place in London. Federer has withdrawn from Paris, pretty much ending his chances of finishing the year at the top of the rankings!

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Andy Del Potro

 

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