Women's tennis sets the stage for a final worthy of a wacky year

Has there been a tennis season where the start and end were so different, and not just because empty stadiums gave way to packed arenas? ...


Has there been a tennis season where the start and end were so different, and not just because empty stadiums gave way to packed arenas? In February, after the Australian Open, where Naomi Osaka of Japan won her second consecutive Grand Slam singles tournament and the fourth of her career, she looked set to take control of the sport. Ten months later, she is on indefinite leave to take care of her mental health. No one knows when or if she will be back.

Serena Williams reached the semi-finals in Australia and looked set for a serious try for a tied 24th Grand Slam singles title. Since the start of the summer, she has been on the sidelines due to injuries. 2021 Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia died the last two months of the season after a grueling half year on the road.

American Sofia Kenin, who arrived in Australia as the defending champion, suffered an emergency appendectomy, Covid-19 and a breakup with her father and trainer, Alex Kenin. She came out of the top 10. Simona Halep of Romania, No. 2 seed in Australia, struggled with injuries and is now ranked 22nd.

The only player to return to this league from 2019, the last time it was played, was Pliskova from the Czech Republic. Instead of the usual stars are players like Maria Sakkari, a 26-year-old Greek with a physique more typical of a mixed martial arts fighter than a tennis player. She only reached the top 20 last year.

The biggest name in the game right now, Emma Raducanu of Great Britain, the qualifier who won the US Open in September, is not here because she did not qualify. The qualifying conditions were set when everyone just assumed that anyone good enough to win a Grand Slam event would definitely be among the top ranked players still playing at the end of the year. In a Perfect World, the Tour Finals would feature all of the Grand Slam Champions and Finalists.

Unfortunately, there is only one Grand Slam singles champion in this championship this year, Krejcikova, known until recently as a doubles specialist, who came out of nowhere to win the French Open 2021. There is no than another Grand Slam finalist – Pliskova, who lost to Barty at Wimbledon. There Barty looked like she wouldn’t lose again for a while, but she didn’t even make week two of the US Open and called it a season.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Women's tennis sets the stage for a final worthy of a wacky year
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