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Halep Hoping To Build On 2016 Rebound

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Simona Halep

2016 Quick Hits
Week 1 Ranking: No.2
Year-End Ranking: No.4
Season Highlights: Madrid, Bucharest, Montréal Champion, Singapore RR
Best Major Result: QF (Wimbledon, US Open)

2017 Outlook

An injury-addled off-season left Halep unprepared for the season to come, and tough losses at the Australian Open and Middle East left many to question what was to come next from the former World No.2

Halep began to slowly silence the doubters by March, reaching back-to-back quarterfinals in Indian Wells and Miami, and truly soared once she hit her beloved clay, winning her second Premier Mandatory title at the Mutua Madrid Open. The Romanian star credited the success at one of her favorite tournaments – run by fellow Romanian Ion Tiriac – with a new approach alongisde coach Darren Cahill.

“I had many days training with Darren,” she explained to WTA Insider. “I wanted that. I asked him when he made the schedule in January that I wanted this week to prepare with him here in Madrid. So I knew what I want to do.

“It’s much better to come a few days earlier. You feel the courts, you feel the atmosphere of the tournament, and you feel like you are into it already when the tournament starts.”

Halep continued to feel the courts this summer, winning two more titles at home in Bucharest and Montréal, where she also paired Monica Niculescu to reach the doubles final.

“It was very different because I’m not used to playing doubles,” she said in her Rogers Cup Champions Corner. “I got a little bit tired in the end. But it also helped me to play some doubles matches because I practiced the return, the serve. That helped me a lot in singles; I had tough opponents there. It’s been a great week.”

The former French Open finalist played one of her most impressive matches in Flushing, pushing then-World No.1 Serena Williams to the brink at the US Open.

“It was tough,” she said of the loss. “It is tough. I’m a little bit sad, but I have just to take the positives, because I have a lot going ahead.”

For the youngest woman in the Top 4, there is certainly still more ahead, and plenty more to come in 2017.

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Can Radwanska Make A Major Impression In 2017?

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Agnieszka Radwanska

2016 Quick Hits
Week 1 Ranking: No.5
Year-End Ranking: No.3
Season Highlights: Title at Shenzhen, New Haven, Beijing
Best Major Result: SF (Australian Open)

2017 Outlook

Having made her big breakthrough with victory at last year’s BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, 2016 saw Agnieszka Radwanska consolidate her place at the very top of the tennis tree.

The Pole set the tone for another campaign characterized by its consistency in January, triumphing at Shenzhen before reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open where her winning run was finally halted by an on-song Serena Williams.

This good form continued throughout the year, but a major breakthrough proved elusive until Beijing, where she outclassed the high-flying Johanna Konta to collect a third Premier Mandatory crown. Despite playing herself into form at the perfect moment, there was to be no repeat in Singapore, her reign ended by a comprehensive semifinal defeat to Angelique Kerber.

Aside from at Melbourne Park, she was unable to make it beyond the last 16 at the majors, and the principal question surrounding Radwanska in 2017 will be whether she can defuse the game’s big hitters to go deep into a 128-player draw. To date, the 27-year-old’s only Grand Slam final came at Wimbledon in 2012, yet the recent success of fellow counterpuncher Angelique Kerber offers hope that a return is within her grasp.

Her 11th year on tour will begin in Shenzhen, where prize money totaling $750,000 – the highest of any International event on the calendar – has enticed a stellar field. Joining Radwanska in the draw will be two other members of the Top 10, Simona Halep and Johanna Konta. After this, she will head to Sydney to finalize preparations for the Australian Open alongside Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova.

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