Who were the most (and least) impressive movers in tennis this week? Nicholas Nemeroff has you covered. Check out the Island Idols page for complete rankings, and how these players stack up against the rest of the field:
ATP TOP THREE
1. Andy Murray
Shenzhen marked Andy Murray’s first appearance in the final of an ATP event since his victory at Wimbledon last year. Down a set and a 6-2 in the second set tiebreaker, it appeared as if Spaniard Tommy Robredo was going to deny Murray that elusive title. In what may end up being a cathartic win, the former No. 2 was able to storm back in the ‘breaker, winning it 11-9 before sailing through the third set and capturing the title. Murray still has an excellent chance to secure a spot at the World Tour Finals in London at the end of the year. Positive results in Beijing and Shanghai over the next two weeks will help the Brit immensely.
2. Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori is not allowing his U.S. Open final loss to get the best of him. After succumbing to Marin Cilic in straight sets in his first major final, Nishikori has quickly picked up the pieces with his third title of the season. The top Japanese man made his way through the Kuala Lumpur draw relatively unscathed, only dropping one set all week. Nishikori will look to continue his push towards the World Tour Finals in Tokyo next week.
3. Sam Querrey
Sam Querrey has certainly underperformed this year, but he hasn’t been totally off the ball in 2014. The American entered the Napa challenger with a 27-20 record in tour level matches on the year which has included three tour level semifinals. Querrey has put himself back in the top 50 with his title in Napa. Like Nishikori, the American dropped only a single set this week, and clinched the title with a very convincing victory over Tim Smyczek in the final.
ATP BOTTOM THREE
3. Ernests Gulbis
Ernests Gulbis, the longstanding Latvian No. 1, won back-to-back matches for the first time since reaching the French Open semifinals in June. Gulbis entered the Kuala Lumpur semifinals with a very winnable match against Julien Benneteau. Gulbis lost the plot late in both sets and had little concern for the people who made his rackets, smashing one of his expensive frames late in the first. Gulbis’s emotions continue to get in his way and unless he can move in a progressive direction mentally, his talent won’t be fully utilized.
2. Julien Benneteau
This is admittedly tough to write. With his defeat in the Kuala Lumpur finals, Benneteau is now 0-10 in tour level singles finals. Anything less than a title this week had to have been considered a failure for the Frenchman, which is why he finds himself on this list despite playing on the final day of the tournament. Benneteau does have his French Open doubles title to fall back on, but there’s no doubt his inability come up with the goods in singles finals will continue to hurt.
1. David Ferrer
It has been an odd few months for David Ferrer. After losing in the second round of Wimbledon to Andrey Kuznetsov and in the finals of Hamburg, Ferrer regrouped well in Toronto and Cincinnati, reaching the quarterfinals and finals respectively before losing to Federer in both events. The feisty Spaniard was then shown the door in New York City by Gilles Simon, in a match where it appeared Ferrer was physically outgunned by the steadier Simon. Looking to revive himself once again as the season winds down, Ferrer was stunned by the reemerging Serbian, Viktor Troicki, in his opening match in Kuala Lumpur.
WTA TOP THREE
1. Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova continues to pad her already decorated resume with a win at the inaugural Premier 5 event in Wuhan. Kvitova squeaked her way through the red-hot Karolina Pliskova in the third round before running the table all the way through the final, where she beat Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets. Kvitova is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and is very close to leapfrogging Simona Halep for the No. 2 spot.
2. Timea Bacsinzsky
Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky scored the most impressive victory of her career this week in Wuhan, defeating Maria Sharapova in two hard-fought sets. She also recorded a decisive victory over Ekaterina Makarova in the second round. Reaching the quarterfinals of such a prestigious event as a qualifier will do wonders for her confidence moving forward.
3. Eugenie Bouchard
Bouchard is an extremely goal-oriented player and expects the absolute best from herself. With this in mind, one can easily discern that her post-Wimbledon summer did not go as planned. Bouchard lost in the second round in Montreal to Shelby Rogers, eating bagels in both the first and final sets and then went onto lose in the second round of Cincinnati to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Bouchard eventually won her first post-Wimbledon match in New Haven but ended up losing in the next round to Samantha Stosur. Bouchard did get to the fourth round of the U.S. Open but was outclassed by Ekaterina Makarova once she got there. Even though she lost in the final, the week Bouchard had in Wuhan was just what she needed.
WTA BOTTOM THREE
3. Serena Williams
Serena Williams didn’t play much and was forced to retire in her second round match against Alize Cornet with a viral illness. Serena being on this list of course has nothing to do with her play and all to do with the halting of momentum she had rode through the U.S. Open. Serena also expressed her disappointment of having to cut her week short in front of a crowd ostensibly excited to see her in action at a brand new tournament.
2. Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki has been super consistent the last few months. After winning in Istanbul, Wozniacki reached the U.S. Open final, the Tokyo final, and also made the semifinals in Cincinnati. Wozniacki has been unable to turn these deep runs in major events into titles. In her defense, she had the misfortune of facing Serena in the Montreal quarterfinals, the Cincinnati semifinals and the U.S. Open final. Wozniacki has been World No. 1 and has now reached two grand slam finals—deeps runs in tournaments don’t serve as much consolation to someone with her accolades. Wozniacki is moving in the right direction, but she isn’t exactly where she wants to be quite yet.
1. Samantha Stosur
Samantha Stosur was at the bottom of our power rankings last week and with another first round loss this week in Wuhan, there’s really no justification for moving Stosur out of this spot. Stosur’s last three losses have come in three sets. Looking forward to next week, Stosur has already won her first round match in Beijing, increasing her chances of moving herself out of the Bottom Three for next week.