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Monday, July 20, 2009

Top Ten Tennis Events of 2008

The year 2008 saw several notable events in the tennis world. Player like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga emerged in the lime light, while player like Sania Mirza fell in ranking. The year even presented a classic final at Wimbledon 2008. Rafael Nadal and Jelena Jankovic finished the year at no. 1 in ATP and WTA rankings respectively for the first time. Here, I made a list of top ten events of tennis world in 2008. So, let us go through the list of top ten notable tennis events of 2008:

Rafael Nadal Becoming World No. 1 Replacing Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal replaced former world no. 1 Swiss star Roger Federer at the top of ATP ranking, becoming the world no. 1 for the first time in his career. Thus, the Spaniard also ended Federer’s record 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the ranking. Nadal clinched his fourth successive French Open title, defeating Federer 6–1, 6–3, 6–0 in the final, before winning his first ever Wimbledon title, defeating Federer in a five-set classic final. After that Nadal also won the gold medal of men’s singles at the Beijing Olympic Games 2008, outclassing Fernando Gonzalez in straight set. On August 18, 2008, the Spanish tennis star became the world no. 1 of men’s singles at ATP ranking.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal: An Epic Final in Wimbledon 2008

Wimbledon 2008 men’s singles final should be considered to be one of the greatest ever final in the history of grand slam. No doubt, five-time defending champion Federer went into the final match as ultimate favorite and his sixth Wimbledon title seemed to be a matter of time when Federer won the first two sets without facing any hard challenge from the Spanish star. However, Rafael Nadal was determined enough to clinch the title, winning the last three sets in tie-breaker, setting up one of the most notable come-back win in a grand slam final in the history of tennis.

Jelena Jankovic Becoming World no. 1 without Winning Any Grand Slam

There is no doubt, Jelena Jankovic has been one of the most consistent performers in WTA tour events, despite the fact that the Serbian star could not win any grand slam title so far in her career. Still, Jankovic rose to no. 1 spot of WTA ranking, after reaching the U.S. Open 2008 final, her first grand slam final ever. Though she failed to win the U.S. Open title, being lost to 4th seed American Serena Williams, her performance in other grand slam and WTA tour tournaments were satisfactory. The current world no. 1 Jankovic also reached the semi final of Australian Open and French Open 2008 tournaments, besides winning four other tour titles in 2008.

Andy Murray: The New Hope of British Tennis Fans

Andy Murray went very close to become the first British tennis player to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry did it last time in 1936 as Murray reached his first ever grand slam final at the U.S. Open 2008, kindling the hope of millions of British tennis fans who were looking for another grand slam winner in Britain. However, Murray’s dream run was brought to an end by the eventual champion Roger Federer in the tournament final. En route to final, Andy Murray defeated French Open and Wimbledon Champion, world no. 1, Rafael Nadal in a four set semi final. Murray won five tour titles including two ATP Masters Cup titles in 2008, achieving his career high no. 4 ranking.

Former World no. 1 Justine Henin Announced Retirement Surprisingly

Belgian tennis star Justine Henin surprisingly announced her retirement on 14 May 2008, even while leading the WTA ranking. The announcement came just before the 2008 French Open where she would start as defending champion and was considered to be tournament favorite. Henin has 7 grand slam titles to her credit including four titles at French Open.

Ana Ivanovic Winning First Grand Slam Title at French Open 2008

Ana Ivanovic was undoubtedly one of the most promising figures of world tennis in 2008. The Serbian stalwart showed her talent and potential even in 2007. However, the year 2008 deserves to be something special in her career as Ivanovic won her career first grand slam title at French Open 2008, defeating 13th seed Dinara Safina in the final 6-4, 6-3. After the triumph at French Open, Ivanovic even became the world no. 1 in WTA ranking on June 9, 2008. However, her lackluster form towards the end of the year cost her in WTA ranking as Ivanovic finished the year at no. 5 in WTA ranking.

Dream Run of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Australian Open 2008

There was hardly anyone who knew Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before the start of Australian Open 2008. In fact, he was an unseeded player in the tournament, but made it to the final surprisingly, defeating some of the top seeded players like Andy Murray in the first round, Richard Gasquet in the fourth round and Rafael Nadal in the semi final. However, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga failed to win the title being lost to Serbian star Novak Djokovic. After that, the 23-year-old French tennis star failed to live up the expectation, mostly because of injury problems. Still, he could finish the year at his career high no. 6 ranking.

Jie Zheng: The First Chinese Player to Reach at a Grand Slam Semi Final

Second highest ranked Asian star, Jie Zheng, made history becoming the first ever Chinese tennis player to reach at the semi final of a grand slam tournament after reaching the semi final of Wimbledon 2008, defeating three seeded players en route. In fact, she caused the biggest upset of the tournament by defeating the then world no. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the third round. The Chinese star went into the tournament as a wildcard entry, and to everyone’s surprise, Jie Zheng reached the semi final where she was defeated by Serena Williams.

Venus Williams Defending Wimbledon Title in an All-Williams Wimbledon 2008 Final

After a long time, tennis world saw another All-Williams final at a grand slam tournament. The final of Wimbledon 2008 featured the two sisters, but the match was not very competitive as elder sister Venus won the match in two sets. With this victory Venus Williams defend her Wimbledon title successfully, winning her seventh grand slam title in her career. Such was her dominance that Venus Williams did not drop any set throughout the tournament.

Injury Pronged Sania Mirza Slipping Drastically in WTA Ranking

The year 2008 was a disappointing year for Indian tennis star Sania Mirza who started the year at 32, but finished at 99, lowest in 4 years. Her recurring injury problem was one of the reasons behind her slipping in WTA ranking. In fact, Sania Mirza missed a number of tournaments due to injury. First she suffered from left adductor strain and later on, she suffered severally from right wrist injury. Sania Mirza even underwent wrist surgery in April. Still, she had to miss the U.S. Open 2008 due to wrist injury.

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