2019 Weekly WTA Awards: Sydney, Hobart

Time for the second week of Weekly Awards, a new feature on the blog which acts as a round-up post to cover the entire week’s action on the WTA tour. It was a quiet week on the tour as Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin picked up titles in Sydney and Hobart. Read on to see who gets the on-court and off-court accolades for week two of the 2019 season…

BEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Petra Kvitova, Sydney

Image result for kvitova sydney

Petra Kvitova wins honours for player of the week after showing glimpses of Peak Petra, and the fight and grit that has helped her through multiple three set matches to claim her 26th WTA title in Sydney. The Czech came through Aryna Sabalenka, Hsieh Su-Wei, Angelique Kerber, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Ashleigh Barty to continue her eight-match winning streak in finals. The big question for Petra is, can she bring this kind of level to the Slams? After looking completely exhausted in the final and together with her dismal record in Slams in recent years, I highly doubt it, but let’s see whether the Czech can do any damage in Melbourne next week.

Honourable Mentions:
Sofia Kenin, Hobart
Ashleigh Barty, Sydney

SURPRISE PACKAGE OF THE WEEK

Yulia Putintseva, Sydney

Image result for putintseva sydney

The surprise of the week was definitely Yulia Putintseva as she made a surprise quarterfinal run in Sydney from qualifying, notching wins over Destanee Aiava, Zarina Diyas, Daria Gavrilova and Sloane Stephens. I’ve never seen Putintseva playing better tennis than in the match against Stephens as she was rock solid, moving Stephens from side to side with angles, powerful down the line shots and flashes of touch and variety. We’ve seen this kind of play from Putintseva before but it has never been sustained throughout an entire week, let alone an entire season. Very interested to check out her match against Barbora Strycova in the first round of the Australian Open so it’ll be interesting to see if she can replicate that kind of play…

Honourable Mentions:
Sofia Kenin, Hobart
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Hobart

BREAKTHROUGH OF THE WEEK

Sofia Kenin, Hobart

Image result for kenin hobart

Not many people have been talking about Sofia Kenin even though she first burst onto the scene with a third round appearance at the 2017 US Open, falling out to Maria Sharapova. However, after she won her first WTA title at the Hobart International, it still doesn’t seem like she’s garnering too much attention! She does have a typical WTA player baseline game, but her improvements from 2017 is so obvious to see on the court right now. She has a potent backhand, a more polished forehand, a slightly improved serve, and most importantly, good mental toughness and fighting qualities in her weaponry. Kenin’s projected to reach a career high ranking of No.37 and the next step for the young American is whether she can start competing well against the top players. Kenin could play Simona Halep in the second round at the Australian Open and that will be one to watch if it happens.

Honourable Mentions:
Greet Minnen, Hobart

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK

Sloane Stephens, Sydney

Image result for stephens sydney 2019

I don’t think anyone expected too much from Sloane Stephens in Sydney, but falling from a set and a break up to getting bagelled in a third set is a little too much for a top ten player. Indeed, Putintseva was absolutely rocking it in the decider, but Stephens seemed completely uninterested after losing the second set, hitting balls everywhere other than the court, and the footwork was completely inexistent. Stephens will head to Melbourne where she will play Taylor Townsend in the first round – she’ll really need to keep her feet moving if she wants to win that one against a tricky opponent.

Honourable Mentions:
Caroline Garcia, Hobart

MOST HIGH-QUALITY MATCH OF THE WEEK

Ashleigh Barty vs Kiki Bertens, Sydney

This was a great match between two players who made huge waves on the tour in 2018. Both players were so good on serve (81% first serves won for Barty, 15 aces for Bertens) and you just didn’t know who was going to win until the last few points. Both players stuck well to their gameplans, but a stunning volley from Barty (see below) helped her to secure the break at 5-5, and there was no way back for Bertens from then on. A nice embrace at the net as well.

MOST DRAMATIC MATCH OF THE WEEK

Petra Kvitova vs Ashleigh Barty, Sydney

Barty vs Bertens delivered in the quality of tennis and while Kvitova vs Barty didn’t reach the heights of that one, it certainly delivered in terms of drama. It seemed like Barty was cruising to the title as she led 6-1, 3-3 with Kvitova unable to replicate her late-night form against Sasnovich the previous day. However, Kvitova finally got more balls and more aggressive strikes into play, which was when the quality of the match rose. However, it was nervy tennis from both players in the end – Barty let Kvitova serve twice for the match after two sloppy service games, but the latter could not take advantage as the Czech offered a heap of errors and double faults, looking completely drained. She continued to clutch her thigh after points during the third set tiebreaker, but Kvitova gave it her all to eventually overpower Barty in the final few points. What a fight from Petra…

Honourable Mentions:
Stephens vs Alexandrova, Sydney
Putintseva vs Stephens, Sydney

BEST POINT/SHOT OF THE WEEK

Ashleigh Barty, Sydney

An absolutely stunning drop volley from Barty, and how pivotal the point was to help her reach her second straight Sydney International final.

MOST MEME-WORTHY REACTION OF THE WEEK

Angelique Kerber, Sydney

Mood:

Honourable Mentions:
Gavrilova, Barty & Halep, Sydney

BEST GIF OF THE WEEK

Yulia Putintseva, Sydney

Putintseva was completely hyped up in her comeback win against Sloane Stephens. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Honourable Mentions:
Sloane Stephens, Sydney

BEST SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Eugenie Bouchard

Thanks for reading!

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