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The Six who scintillated on the Tour

December 24, 2013 09:26 IST

The Six who scintillated on the Tour

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Bikash Mohapatra

Tennis this year was rather individual-centric.

With Roger Federer failing to produce his best, Maria Sharapova struggling with injuries and young players failing to make that major breakthrough, it was left to a handful few to dominate.

There were six players, three women and an equal number of men who accounted for a bulk of the major titles.

The variations to this norm were few and far between, the most significant one being Marion Bartoli’s surprise win at Wimbledon.

As we wait for the new tennis season to start in a week's time, Bikash Mohapatra looks back at the best players this year and the extent of their dominance.

Serena Williams (USA)

She was, by far, the most dominant player this year.

Serena Williams won 11 titles, including the French Open and the US Open, 78 matches and more than 12 million dollars in 2013.

The American lost four matches in the whole year, two of them being shock exits at the Australian Open (to Sloane Stephens) and Wimbledon (Sabine Lisicki).

In the process she became the oldest player to end the year as No.1.


Image: Serena Williams
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Rafael Nadal (Spain)

If Serena dominated the women’s scene, Rafael Nadal embarked on a perfect comeback on the men’s tour.

The Spaniard, having missed half of last year with injury, made a comeback in Chile in February and ended the year with a formidable 75-7 match record.

Among his 10 titles this year was a record eighth French Open and a second one at the US Open.

Add to that the Masters Series (ATP 1000s) wins in Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Toronto and Cincinnati and it makes for a stellar year.


Image: Rafael Nadal
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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The Six who scintillated on the Tour

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Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

The only player to defeat Serena Williams twice this year.

The Belarusian got the better of the American in the final of the Premier Mandatory events in Doha and Cincinnati while coming up short in Rome and at the US Open.

Azarenka also started the year by defending her Australian Open title, with a tough three set win over China’s Li Na.

Come next month and she will be trying to achieve a hat-trick of titles in Melbourne.


Image: Victoria Azarenka
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Novak Djokovic started the year with a bang, a four-set win over Andy Murray giving him his fourth Australian Open title.

The Serbian finished the year on a similar note, a 24-match winning streak that included consecutive titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and London.

There was a bit of a wobble in the middle, but Djokovic also helped Serbia get to the Davis Cup final, doing just enough to pip Rafael Nadal to the world player of the year honours.

With Boris Becker joining his coaching staff, 2014 surely looks promising for Nole.


Image: Novak Djokovic
Photographs: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

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Simona Halep (Romania)

Those who don’t follow tennis on a regular basis can be excused for not being familiar with this name.

Those who do will be aware that Simona Halep was recently named the WTA’s Most Improved Player this year.

It’s a breakthrough year for the Romanian, who ended the year ranked No.11 and won a whopping six titles -- only Serena won more, the haul including big ticket events in New Haven, Moscow and Sofia.


Image: Simona Halep
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Andy Murray (Britain)

Andy Murray this year became the first British player in 77 years to win the Wimbledon title.

Winning the Olympic gold at the All England Club last year was a prelude. Ending a seemingly never-ending wait was about writing the perfect script.

Injury thereafter might have cut short his progress, but, on a positive note, it gave him more time to celebrate the memorable triumph. 


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

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