2018 has been one thing of a wild 12 months for tennis. From off courtroom reforms to the game’s ageing stars dominating one other calendar 12 months and the ladies’s tournaments once more serving up unpredictable outcomes, it’s been a roller-coaster.
Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep graduate 2018 on the high of their respective lessons, however it doesn’t even go near telling the entire story of the 12 months that was.
Winding the clock all the best way again to January, and the season formally received underway with the primary grand slam of the 12 months at a sweltering Melbourne Park.
The story of the match, and not using a shadow of a doubt, was once more the set-up for a possible last between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the boys’s aspect of the draw.
Whereas Federer was capable of blitz via his aspect of the draw on the best way to a 20th grand slam title, Rafael Nadal battled via some slog-a-thons and the additional play advised on his physique.
A bodily four-set encounter with Diego Schwartzman in scorching climate was adopted by a quarter-final battle in opposition to Marin Cilic, which in the end led to a fifth-set retirement.
Cilic then blasted previous Kyle Edmund, whereas Hyeon Chung additionally rose from nowhere to make the semi-finals, solely to be overwhelmed by Federer in straight units. It was the primary time two unseeded gamers had made the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
It arrange the second grand slam last between Federer and Cilic. When the Fed Specific rolled via the primary set 6-2, it seemed prefer it wouldn’t be a problem, however Cilic took him all the best way to 5 units ultimately, solely to be blown away 6-1.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios seemed like he had lastly turned a nook (later confirmed to not be true) as he made the fourth spherical in a loss to Grigor Dimitrov.
On the ladies’s aspect of the draw, Caroline Wozniacki was lastly capable of break via together with her first grand slam victory.
Whereas Marta Kostyuk stole some headlines, turning into the youngest participant to make the third spherical of any grand slam since 1997 at simply 15 years of age, it was Wozniacki and Halep who stole the present in a last which ebbed and flowed over three units.
It wouldn’t be honest to not speak concerning the match of the match although, which Halep clearly paid for. Within the semi-final, she wanted three units and nearly three hours in searing warmth to get previous Angelique Kerber, with the ultimate set scoreline studying 9-7.
It wasn’t Halep’s solely lengthy match both – she went to 15-13 within the third set of her third spherical match in opposition to Lauren Davis.
Elsewhere, the ladies’s draw via up surprises galore. Johanna Konta, Daria Gavrilova and Garbine Muguruza gone within the second spherical, whereas Venus Williams was out within the first. Ashleigh Barty was the best-performed Aussie, attending to the third spherical earlier than being ousted by Naomi Osaka.
Not for the primary time, the sport to play at Roland Garros was ‘see in case you can cease Rafael Nadal.’
It appeared the one method Nadal was going to be stopped was if he got here up with an damage or main, main choke. It was confirmed to be so, with Nadal solely shedding a single set all through the match (to Diego Schwartzman), earlier than he bashed Juan Martin Del Potro within the semi-final and Dominic Thiem within the last.
Thiem seemed like he would be capable of lay the problem to Nadal at sure factors through the match.
His kind was glorious, beating Alexander Zverev in straight units through the quarter-final, however because it turned out, he was no match for the world No.1.
The story of the French Open was the little-known unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato, who ultimately misplaced to Thiem.
The ladies’s aspect of the draw additionally formed as much as be a recreation of ‘cease me in case you can,’ with Simona Halep the favorite and barely being challenged.
She went via the match solely shedding three units, together with the primary of the primary spherical in opposition to Alison Riske. From there although, she was dominant and ended up occurring a run which included wins over Kerber, Muguruza and Sloane Stephens within the last.
Mugurza and Kerber had been the 2 largest challenges (each on the identical aspect of the draw), however couldn’t do something concerning the freight practice that was Halep.
On the opposite aspect of the draw, it was an all-American semi-final as Madison Keys once more fell simply brief, whereas Caroline Wozniacki solely made the fourth spherical in backing up her Australian success.
It was a tough match for the Australians, with Daria Gavrilova and Ashleigh Barty making the third spherical, Samantha Stosur the second and everybody else being knocked out within the first.
This match can be endlessly remembered because the one which modified the foundations. On the boys’s aspect of the tournaments, benefit units within the fifth are over, after a slew of lengthy matches in 2018. 2019 will see tiebreakers launched as 12-all.
And having watched each shot of the John Isner-Kevin Anderson epic within the semi-final, it’s laborious to disagree with the rule change.
They performed out to 26-24, with Anderson ultimately qualifying for a last which he had nothing within the tank for, given his quarter-final effort – beating Roger Federer – was additionally an extended one which went to 13-11.
The semi-final, which took over six hours, threw the match into mayhem, however the effort of Anderson couldn’t be discounted, who was backing up from beating the person who, like Nadal on clay, didn’t look beatable on grass.
Alas, he was and the second semi-final, between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was delayed, then delayed some extra. They ultimately received on beneath the roof at Wimbledon, solely to have play end at 11pm native time because of a stop order in place.
They resumed the next day, with Djokovic taking the ultimate set 10-Eight in what could effectively have been match of the 12 months. It delayed the ladies’s last on the identical day, with Angelique Kerber battering Serena Williams in straight units.
Kerber improved all through the match, going from energy to energy to the purpose the place she seemed nearly unstoppable come the ultimate. She solely misplaced a single set throughout her seven matches, and had some robust matches all through that run.
The shock was seeing Simona Halep knocked out within the third spherical by Hsieh Su-wei, whereas Caroline Garcia, Elina Svitolina and Sloane Stephens – seeds 4 via six – had been all knocked out within the first spherical.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios was the very best Aussie, attending to the third spherical earlier than being damaged down by Kei Nishikori, whereas Daria Gavrilova and Ashleigh Barty additionally made the third spherical – Gavrilova after knocking Stosur out.
The 2018 US Open is sadly at all times going to be remembered for Serena Williams’ meltdown through the girls’s last.
Whereas it shouldn’t be the best way, it is going to be. Naomi Osaka placed on a shocking efficiency to beat the previous world No.1, who was trying to cap her return from childbirth with a house grand slam win.
Nevertheless, issues went in opposition to her and he or she ended up with a number of code violations all through the match, earlier than the gang received concerned for Williams through the presentation.
It was an embarrassing show within the last grand slam of the 12 months, however what wasn’t embarrassing was Osaka. She is going to goal to proceed a run of kind into 2019 which noticed her solely drop a single set for all the match, though some will say she had a simple draw.
It might have been an all-American last as effectively, however Madison Keys was overwhelmed by Osaka soundly.
Ashleigh Barty was once more the very best of the Aussies, making the fourth spherical earlier than shedding to Karolina Pliskova.
On the boys’s aspect of the draw, Novak Djokovic continued his superb return to the highest, smacking Juan Martin Del Potro within the last with out elevating a sweat.
It was the right method to cap off the 12 months for Djokovic, who may have his eye on the world No.1 rating in 2019.
It might have been a lot harder although, if not for a retirement from Rafael Nadal through the semi-final the place he was clearly battling with the warmth and damage.
The story of the boys’s aspect of the draw although was Australian John Millman, who got here away with a career-defining victory over Roger Federer, earlier than pushing laborious in opposition to Novak Djokovic within the quarter-finals, in the end falling brief.
The Davis Cup received extra consideration than it has completed for a variety of years in 2018, however it wasn’t the on-court motion which dominated the headline.
I’ve made my opinions on the reforms to the competitors clear beforehand, however from subsequent 12 months, it’ll be three-set tennis and just one home-and-away qualifying spherical forward of a finals collection to be held in Spain.
Protected to say it’s not the Davis Cup tennis followers have come to know and love.
And a what a Davis Cup it was in 2018. Whereas Australia had been bundled out early doorways by Germany, which, on the time, arrange a frightening process (one the nation in the end failed at) to remain within the World Group in opposition to Austria, it ended up which means nothing with all the highest 24 groups invited again to qualifying subsequent 12 months.
Again out on the courtroom, and it was a Marin Cilic impressed Croatia who performed some distinctive tennis, earlier than going to France – who had been the defending champions – and placing on an unbelievable last effort to win Three-1.
Cilic was joined within the singles by Borna Coric, and whereas Coric misplaced his match, there was no getting previous a red-hot Cilic who beat each Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille to information his workforce to victory.
The tie of the match although had been within the semi-final rounds, with Croatia beating the USA Three-2 at dwelling after Jim Courier made the baffling resolution to play Frances Tiafoe in a deciding rubber.
The Fed Cup suffered no such reforms off the courtroom, however there was some cracking tennis on it. With out Australia in the principle world group, the Czech Republic rubber-stamped their dominance on feminine tennis, profitable the competitors for the fourth time within the final 5 years.
They laughed all the best way to the financial institution within the last as effectively, smashing the USA Three-Zero.
Their workforce, that includes world No.7 Petra Kvitova, Barbora Strycova and the world No.1 doubles workforce of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (who received two doubles grand slams this 12 months), had been by no means going to be challenged.
They misplaced only a single stay rubber throughout the three rounds of competitors.
Australia’s plight was maintained in World Group 2. A detailed Three-2 victory over the Ukraine allowed qualification for the World Group Playoffs, the place, regardless of Samantha Stosur shedding the primary rubber, Australia would come away with a Four-1 victory over the Netherlands in Wollongong to qualify for the highest eight subsequent 12 months, the place a tough journey to the USA awaits.
2018 outcomes abstract
Australian Open males’s singles: Roger Federer defeat Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7, 6-Three, Three-6, 6-1
Australian Open girls’s singles: Caroline Wozniacki defeat Simona Halep 7-6, Three-6, 6-Four
Australian Open males’s doubles: Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic defeat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-Four, 6-Four
Australian Open girls’s doubles: Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic defeat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-Four, 6-Three
Australian Open combined doubles: Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic defeat Timea Babos and Rohan Bopanna 2-6, 6-Four [11-9]
French Open girls’s singles: Simona Halep defeat Sloane Stephens Three-6, 6-Four, 6-1
French Open males’s doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut defeat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavich 6-2, 7-6
French Open girls’s doubles: Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková defeat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya 6-Three, 6-Three
French Open combined doubles: Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig defeat Gabriela Dabrowski and Mate Pavic 6-1, 6-7, [10-8] Wimbledon males’s singles: Novak Djokovic defeat Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6
Wimbledon girls’s singles: Angelique Kerber defeat Serena Williams 6-Three, 6-Three
Wimbledon males’s doubles: Mike Bryan and Jack Sock defeat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-Three, 6-7, 6-Three, 5-7, 7-5
Wimbledon girls’s doubles: Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková defeat Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke 6-Four, Four-6, 6-Zero
Wimbledon combined doubles: Alexander Peya and Nicole Melichar defeat Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka 7-6, 6-Three
US Open males’s singles: Novak Djokovic defeat Juan Martin Del Potro 6-Four, 7-6, 6-Three
US Open girls’s singles: Naomi Osaka defeat Serena Williams 6-Four, 6-2
US Open males’s doubles: Mike Bryan and Jack Sock defeat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-Three, 6-1
US Open girls’s doubles: Ashleigh Barty and CoCo Vandeweghe defeat Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic Three-6, 7-6, 7-6
US Open combined doubles: Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray defeat Alicja Rosolska and Nikola Mektic 2-6, 6-Three, [11-9]
Males’s singles: Alexander Zverev defeat Novak Djokovic 6-Four, 6-Three
Males’s doubles: Mike Bryan and Jack Sock defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7, 6-1, [13-11] Ladies’s singles: Elina Svitolina defeat Sloane Stephens Three-6, 6-2, 6-2
Ladies’s doubles: Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic defeat Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková 6-Four, 7-5
Males’s futures singles: Stefanos Tsitsipas defeat Alex De Minaur 2-Four, Four-1, Four-Three, Four-Three (Quick Four)
WTA elite trophy: Ashleigh Barty defeat defeat Wang Qiang 6-Three, 6-Four
Davis Cup: Croatia defeat France Three-1
Fed Cup: Czech Republic defeat United States of America Three-Zero
Hopman Cup: Switzerland defeat Germany 2-1
Laver Cup: Crew Europe defeat Crew World 13-Eight
ATP 1000 Masters tournaments
Indian Wells: Juan Martin Del Potro defeat Roger Federer 6-Four, 6-7, 7-6
Miami Open: John Isner defeat Alexander Zverev 6-7, 6-Four, 6-Four
Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal defeat Kei Nishikori 6-Three, 6-2
Madrid Open: Alexander Zverev defeat Dominic Thiem 6-Four, 6-Four
Italian Open: Rafael Nadal defeat Alexander Zverev 6-1, 1-6, 6-Three
Canadian Open: Rafael Nadal defeat Stefano Tsitsipas 6-2, 7-6
Cincinnati Masters: Novak Djokovic defeat Roger Federer 6-Four, 6-Four
Shanghai Masters: Novak Djokovic defeat Borna Coric 6-Three, 6-Four
Paris Masters: Karen Khachanov defeat Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-Four
WTA premier obligatory/Premier 5 tournaments
Qatar Open: Petra Kvitova defeat Garbine Muguruza Three-6, 6-Three, 6-Four
Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka defeat Daria Kasatkina 6-Three, 6-2
Miami Open: Sloane Stephens defeat Jelena Ostapenko 7-6, 6-1
Italian Open: Elina Svitolina defeat Simona Halep 6-Zero, 6-Four
Madrid Open: Petra Kvitova defeat Kiki Bertens 7-6, Four-6, 6-Three
Canadian Open: Simona Halep defeat Sloane Stephens 7-6, Three-6, 6-Four
Cincinnati Open: Kiki Bertens defeat Simona Halep 2-6, 7-6, 6-2
Wuhan Open: Aryan Sabalenka defeat Anett Kontaveit 6-Three, 6-Three
China Open: Caroline Wozniacki defeat Anastasija Sevastova 6-Three, 6-Three
ATP high ten finish of 12 months rankings
1. Novak Djokovic
2. Rafael Nadal
Three. Roger Federer
Four. Alexander Zverev
5. Juan Martin Del Potro
6. Kevin Anderson
7. Marin Cilic
Eight. Dominic Thiem
9. Kei Nishikori
10. John Isner
WTA high ten finish of 12 months rankings
1. Simona Halep
2. Angelique Kerber
Three. Caroline Wozniacki
Four. Elina Svitolina
5. Naomi Osaka
6. Sloane Stephens
7. Petra Kvitova
Eight. Karolina Pliskova
9. Kiki Bertens
10. Daria Kasatkina