It’s that time of year when we look back at what transpired on the women’s tour over the past season and view ahead at the upcoming year. Here’s a recap of the great, the good and the down right ugly moments from 2009.
Last year, in many respects, can be characterized as bizarre. The majors commenced with a meltdown by Dinara Safina as Serena Williams thrashed her in the Australian Open final. Months later after sensational results at lead up tournaments, Safina, newly crowned world number one, had another breakdown in the French Open final vis-à-vis Svetlana Kuznetsova. As such, Kuznetsova grabbed the second major of her career.
At the All England Club, after Serena survived a riveting semifinal match against Elena Dementieva, she faced Venus in the finals for the second consecutive year. However, this go around, Serena bested big sister to capture 2009’s third major. Also a favorite to step to the finals at the U.S. Open, Serena encountered two stumbling blocks, her emotions and Kim Clijsters.
After fulfilling her desire to procreate, Clijsters discovered that her retreat from tennis had left a void. Thus, following a two year absence, Clijsters once again embraced the game. Subsequent to some impressive triumphs, Clijsters took on Serena in the semifinals. The weather may have been in part culpable, more likely though, it was Clijsters’ superb touch that got under Serena’s skin as a foot fault by a line judge roused Serena’s anger. Unsavory words by Serena caused a point penalty with Clijsters having match point. A day later, Clijsters went on to rope the U.S. Open trophy, the second major of her career.
Leading the pack of names that captivated the tour in 2009 is Dane Caroline Wozniacki. The teenager became her country’s first competitor to reach a major final. Although downed by Clijsters, after starting the year in the top 20, Wozniacki closed 2009 at number 4. Belarusian Victoria Azarenka continued her march in the right direction. Azarenka demolished Serena at the Sony Ericsson Open to catch the biggest title of her career.
On the other hand, for the Serbs, it was a year of sliding backward. Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former world number one, had trouble directing her forehand and serve. With neither stroke on the money, Ivanovic did not get pass the fourth round at any of the majors. Ivanovic reached one final, Indian Wells, but failed to hoist the trophy. Fed up, Ivanovic put a punctuation to her season in October and her ranking tumbled to 21st. Number one at the start of the year, Jelena Jankovic, fared a little better than Ivanovic by collecting two titles. However, Jankovic was equally a disappointment at the majors with only a round of 16 appearance in Paris and Melbourne.