Top 10 Matches of the season so far: 5-1

5. Petra Kvitova def Venus Williams 5-7 7-6 7-5, Wimbledon R3

A blockbuster third round encounter between two former champions exceeded all expectations in what was probably the match of the tournament. Petra’s biggest challenge on route to her second Wimbledon title came in the third round where she defeated Venus Williams in a nail bitter. There were only two breaks of serve throughout the whole match, Kvitova’s second set tiebreak victory proved to be the difference in the end.

Venus played an incredible opening set, the former champion held all of her service games, winning 88 percent of her first serves. Venus hit 9 winners to just 3 unforced errors in an impressive display of grass court tennis. There were no breaks of serve in the second set so a tiebreaker was needed. It was Kvitova who prevailed 7-2 to force the match into a decider. The third set played out just like the opening two sets with both ladies serving impressively. At 5-6 Venus would serve to stay in the match, Petra would break for the first time in the match to win an epic encounter.

4. Angelique Kerber def Maria Sharapova 7-6 4-6 6-4, Wimbledon R4

Angie Kerber produced some of her very best tennis to upset Maria Sharapova in a tense three set battle. Angie’s ability to turn defence into attack is as good as anyone; this was on display for all to see during her gutsy victory over one of the tournament favorites.

Kerber always seemed to be a step ahead in the opening set, eventually sealing the deal in a tiebreaker. Agnie was unable to take control of the match in the second set as a determined Maria Sharapova forced the match into a decider. It was in the third set that the real drama and excitement began. Sharapova quickly found herself serving to stay in the match at 2-5 and soon found herself facing match point. Maria would hold before breaking the German to bring the set back on serve at 4-5. At 0-40 Kerber had three more match points, but Maria refused to give in, saving all three match point chances. Kerber finally prevailed on her seventh match point opportunity, sealing one of the greatest wins of her career.

Angie hit just 11 unforced errors compared to 49 from Sharapova. The Russian also managed to hit 57 winners but that wasn't enough to get past Angie on this occasion.

3. Agnieszka Radwanska def Victoria Azarenka 6-1 5-7 6-0, Australian Open QF

Agnieszka Radwanska put on a show to break a string of 7 consecutive losses to the Belarusian.

Radwanska was at her magical best in the first and third sets, coming out on top in some extraordinary rallies. Radwanska had the ball on a string; at times she was seemingly toying with the two time defending champion.

Watching Radwanska at her best is breathtaking, the Pole mixed things up extremely well in this match to totally bamboozle her opponent.

2. Ana Ivanovic def Maria Sharapova 6-2 5-7 7-5, Cincinnati SF

This match had it all, incredible hitting, controversial decisions from the chair, Sharapova antics, a fair few unforced errors and much more. This match cannot be beaten for drama.

Ivanovic was seemingly on track for a straightforward victory when she was up a set and 4-0 however this is when the match really came to life as Maria rallied to stage a trademark comeback. Ivanovic would serve for the match at 5-3 but she clearly tightened up and allowed Maria to dictate play. Sharapova would go on to win 5 straight games to force the match into a decider.

The third set was certainly the most entertaining set I’ve seen all year. Out of nowhere Ivanovic hunched over after a point at the start of the hird set and proceeded to receive a medical timeout where her blood pressure was checked. Maria was not impressed, this became quite clear when the Russian squandered her lead in the eighth game and signaled to the chair to check Ana’s blood pressure. Sharapova would serve for the set at 5-4 and had two match point chances. An impressive Ivanovic forehand winner up the line saved the first match, the second was squandered by a Sharapova unforced error. Two consecutive double faults from Maria handed the break straight back to the Serb. Ivanovic going on to win the third set 7-5.

1. Maria Sharapova def Simona Halep 6-4 6-7 6-4, Roland Garros F

For me the 2014 Roland Garros final between Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep is a clear number 1. Often Grand Slam finals are dour, one-sided affairs plagued by nerves. However this match was of a high quality. There were remarkable rallies throughout the match with Simona pushing Maria to her limits.

The match was filled with drama. Both ladies seemed to be in control of the match at various stages. After winning a tight first set 6-4, Maria then raced away to a 2-0 lead in the second set. At this stage many would have expected Maria (the seasoned grand slam finalist) to run away with the match over the first time Grand Slam finalist. However this wasn't the case as Simona began to play some of her best tennis. Simona twice failed to serve out the second set; a second set tiebreak was needed. Sharapova led 4-2 in the tiebreaker but it was Halep who dealt with the situation better to force the match into a decider.

Maria took an extensive break from court after the second set which raised a couple of eyebrows. The turning point seemed to come in the fourth game where Halep had two break point chances to take a 3-1 lead but was unable to convert. Sharapova would go on to win four straight games to take a 4-2 lead. Halep staged another gutsy fight back to level the set at 4-4 but was unable to hold her serve in the next game. Maria successfully served out the match to capture her second Roland Garros title.

This victory meant so much to Maria, her first major since returning from a serious shoulder injury. Her celebration after the match showed just how much it meant to her.

Unfortunately there are no extensive highlights available on youtube because of the French Tennis Federation’s restrictions

 

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