15. U.S Open R2: Petra Cetkovska d. Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 5-7 7-6
One of the biggest upsets of the year came in the second round at Flushing Meadows where Petra Cetkovska stunned 2014 U.S Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki. This victory came out of nowhere for Cetkovska who had not won a main draw tour level match prior to the U.S Open in 2015.
This match was a classic case of attack vs defence, in the end fortune favoured the brave. Cetkovska finished the match with a whopping 61 winners and 60 unforced errors whilst Wozniacki hit 23 winners and committed 32 unforced errors. Cetkovska’s backhand was particularly destructive, hitting winners from every part of the court off her favourite wing.
The match was full of drama, late night on Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of a vocal New York crowd. Cetkovska looked to heading for a straight set victory when she led 6-4 3-0. Wozniacki had to dig deep to send the match to a decider. The real drama took place towards the end of the deciding set, Cetkovska saved four match points on her serve before producing a phenomenal level of tennis to blow Wozniacki off the court in the deciding tiebreaker.
14. RG R2: Francesca Schiavone d. Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 7-5 10-8
Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova have produced some epic matches over the years, their marathon second round clash at Roland Garros this year was certainly one of their best.
Schiavone and Kuznetsova played out the longest ever match at Grand Slam in the open era at the Australian Open in 2011, a match that lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes. This match wasn’t quite as long lasting 3 hours and 49 minutes but it was just as dramatic. A memorable match between two former champions at Roland Garros.
The match was extremely tight from start to finish, Kuznetsova and Schiavone know each other’s games so well making it difficult just to win points in this match-up. Kuznetsova had her fair share of leads in the deciding set, twice serving for the match and even having a match point on her serve. However Schiavone’s heroics would deny the Russian, claiming another historic victory on the French clay.
13. Stuttgart F: Angelique Kerber def. Caroline Wozniacki 3-6 6-1 7-5
This is the first of many matches in my list of top 20 to feature Angelique Kerber. The German and Caroline Wozniacki played out one of the most entertaining finals of the year in Stuttgart. Both ladies produced a high level of tennis as they looked to claim a rare clay court title. Kerber would ultimately finish on top to record back-to- back titles after claiming the title in Charleston the week before, much to the delight of the German crowd.
Angie was surprisingly totally outplayed by Wozniacki in the first set but really upped her intensity and level in the second set to send the match to a decider. The final set was particularly epic. Angie and Caroline were giving their all, it would usually take something pretty special in this match just to win a point.
It was Wozniacki who opened up a lead in the deciding set, serving for the match at 5-3. However Kerber would come roaring back, thriving off the energy from the crowd Kerber would go on to win 4 straight games to claim one of the biggest titles of her career.
12. Australian Open F: Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6
The Australian Open final may not have gone the distance but the quality of this match was certainly high enough to warrant being considered one of the best matches of the year. Serena Williams was forced to work extremely hard for her 19th Grand Slam title. Matches between Serena and Maria are always played at such a high intensity: this was no exception. Both Serena and Maria unleashed some almighty roars, the tension in the air was obvious.
The first set was pretty routine for Serena, it looked like she would cruise to another comfortable victory over Maria. However the Russian really raised her game in the second set and went toe to toe with the world number 1. The second set was extremely close, there were no breaks of serve. Both ladies had opportunities to break but both served very well under pressure.
Maria saved a championship point towards the end of the set before forcing a tiebreaker.The tiebreaker was particularly epic, with so much one the line the two best players in the world gave it their absolute all. Serena’s serve was ultimately the difference, the match fittingly ended with an ace by the American. Serena’s reaction and extremely moving speech after the match added to the occasion.
11. Wimbledon R3: Garbine Muguruza d. Angelique Kerber 7-6 1-6 6-2
The 83-minute first set between Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon was arguably the best set of tennis of the year. The rest of the match was a bit of a letdown, both players were exhausted after the first set and the quality dropped a little.
The first set was truly epic, particularly towards the end. Muguruza survived a 16 minute 12th game, saving 5 set points in the process to send the set to a tiebreaker. The quality of tennis in the 17-minute tiebreak was jaw-dropping. Muguruza would save 4 more set points before triumphing 14-12. Muguruza ended up saving 9 set points in total, most of them were with winners.
The second and third sets were very one-sided, with Kerber sending the match to a decider before Muguruza stormed to victory. The Spaniard’s aggression was ultimately the difference, Garbine hit 57 winners to just 43 unforced errors whilst Kerber ended with a respectable 33 winners and 15 unforced errors.
Unfortunately there seem to be no highlight videos of the Schiavone-Kuznetsova match or the Muguruza-Kerber match.