Can Serena at less than full health dominate the WTA circuit?

By July 09, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Trick or treat? Coco Gauff planning to spend Linz Open winnings on Halloween costume Trick or treat? Coco Gauff planning to spend Linz Open winnings on Halloween costume

    Coco Gauff's first WTA Tour title at the Linz Open means the 15-year-old has the prize money to buy a Halloween costume she hopes will be the best in the sport.

    The outstanding teenager, who starred at Wimbledon and the US Open, became the youngest champion on the main tour in 15 years as she defeated Jelena Ostapenko on Sunday.

    The victory capped a sensational week for Gauff, who also claimed a landmark first win against a top-10 player when she downed world number eight Kiki Bertens in the quarter-finals.

    Despite a fast-moving week, which started with the American entering the tournament as a lucky loser, Gauff has already made plans for her reported winnings of $43,000.

    "I know Halloween is coming up and it's one of my favourite times of year," she said. "So I guess I'll splurge a little bit on my costume and make sure it's right.

    "[The costume is] a secret, because I know last year they had a WTA contest for the best costumes, and I came in third. This year my goal is to come in first!"

    Gauff drew huge crowds as she made grand slam breakthroughs at the All England Club and then at Flushing Meadows, yet she revealed she had not expected to be in contention for titles at the start of the season.

    "I'm still overwhelmed and shocked," she said. "I guess it's crazy to say it's my first WTA title.

    "This was definitely not on the calendar at the beginning of the year, because I didn't think I'd have a chance to get in. And now I'm the champion, so it's crazy."

    Gauff is the first player this season to win on the tour as a lucky loser and added: "It's just literally insane that I got in as a lucky loser and now I'm the champion.

    "My dad told me when I got in, before the first main-draw match, he said, 'You can't lose twice in the same tournament!'

    "I'm sure he never thought it would come this far, to being the champion, but I guess he was right."

  • He plays like we have never seen before - Zverev lauds Shanghai Masters champion Medvedev He plays like we have never seen before - Zverev lauds Shanghai Masters champion Medvedev

    Alexander Zverev hailed Shanghai Masters champion Daniil Medvedev as a unique talent following Sunday's final.

    World number four Medvedev continued his exceptional form with a 6-4 6-1 triumph over Zverev - who had knocked out Roger Federer in the quarters - to claim his fourth title of 2019 in style.

    The US Open runner-up needed just an hour and 13-minutes to dismantle Zverev, who had enjoyed a resurgent week in Shanghai.

    Zverev labelled the Russian as "the best player in the world right now" before and after Medvedev's convincing triumph, and the world number six believes the 23-year-old's unique style is what makes him such a special talent.

    "Daniil is somebody that plays a way that we have never seen before," Zverev said.

    "Maybe he doesn't do huge winners or jumping forehands or anything like that, but he plays a style that we have never seen before.

    "He plays very flat. He plays with shots that you can't really do anything with the ball, I feel like, and that is difficult to play against him in an aggressive way.

    "Sometimes that's maybe why it looks on TV or from the outside that players are not playing as aggressive against him as against others, but I feel like he doesn't let you."

    Despite his defeat, Zverev was delighted with his overall performance at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

    "I feel like I'm playing well. I feel like I'm on a very good path again," added Zverev, who made the semi-finals at the China Open following a disappointing North America swing.

    "But obviously I have to be on this path for a longer period of time, I think. But making finals of a Masters [1000] is huge for me right now, and I'm very happy about that."

  • Peterson outclasses Watson in Tianjin Open final Peterson outclasses Watson in Tianjin Open final

    Rebecca Peterson won her second title of the 2019 Asian swing as she denied a resurgent Heather Watson at the Tianjin Open.

    Having won the Jiangxi Open in Nanchang, Peterson overcame Watson 6-4 6-4 in a rain-delayed final.

    The match was postponed by over five hours, with adverse weather during the warm-up then forcing a switch to an indoor court.

    But the weather did not dampen Peterson's clinical performance, though Watson - who had knocked out second seed Wang Qiang and Bronx Open champion Magda Linette en route to the final - did take an early advantage.

    Watson broke Peterson's first service game, but the Swede immediately rallied to break back at the fourth time of asking in the next game.

    Another break followed to give Peterson a 5-4 lead, with the 24-year-old saving a break point to wrap up the set.

    Watson started the second set on the front foot, only to concede two successive breaks - Peterson holding her serves as she cruised clear to claim the prize with her first match point.

    Peterson's triumph will take her into the WTA's top 40, while Watson will move back into the top 100.

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