Friday 10 to 1: significant streaks snapped
We’ve noticed that some extraordinary streaks have recently come to an end. This Friday, we reflect on the 10 most significant streaks snapped in the past month.
The past month has seen some big news in tennis, and record books re-written.
From a dramatic Wimbledon Championships to some surprising results in the ATP and WTA events following it, we’ve noticed that some extraordinary streaks have finally come to an end.
Looking back at the past month, here are the 10 most significant streaks snapped.
International-level events are on the WTA’s lowest rung and only one top 10 ranked player can enter the main draw; given Williams’ stature in the game, it’s extraordinary that she’d never before been able to win one. She’d never even been beyond the semifinals in five previous International tournaments, but that changed in Bastad, Sweden when she defeated Joanna Larsson for the title.
The big-serving Chris Guccione progressed to the second round of the ATP Claro Open in Colombia last week as a qualifier. By winning his first round match over Kazakh Evgeny Korolev – Korolev retired in the second set – it ended a two-year run without a tour-level main draw match win, dating back to Washington DC in July 2011. Guccione almost beat Santiago Giraldo in the second round before falling in three.
After a lengthy battle with heart-related problems throughout 2012 and 2013, Mardy Fish made a welcome return to competition this week in Atlanta, his first ATP event in four months. Despite falling in three sets in the first round, it’s great to have the American all-courter back in the game; heart trouble also saw him withdraw from the 2012 US Open and miss the Australian and French Opens this year.
In April, Ivo Karlovic was suffering the serious effects of viral meningitis, which confined him to a hospital bed and sidelined him for nearly three months. Yet in just his second tournament back at the ATP Claro Open Colombia, the Croatian snapped a five-year-long title-less streak, beating Santiago Giraldo for the trophy in his first final in three years.
Martina Hingis hasn’t played on the pro tour for almost six years; her last event came in Beijing in September 2007 before it was announced she’d tested positive for cocaine and was banned for two years. The “Swiss Miss” chose not to fight the ban, instead retiring from tennis for a second time. But in Carlsbad next week, she’ll end six years on the sidelines with an appearance in the doubles event, partnering Daniela Hantuchova. Could a singles return follow for the 32-year-old?
In 34 career appearances at Grand Slam events, Rafael Nadal had never once fallen in his opening match. But in his 35th at Wimbledon this year, that perfectly-intact record was shattered when he went down to the unheralded Steve Darcis in round one, a huge shock for fans and other players on the very first day of the tournament.
Granted, she had won a small handful of matches at ITF-level in 2013. But by falling in the opening round of Wimbledon to Olga Puchkova, Arantxa Rus had equalled an inglorious record of 17 straight losses at tour-level events, first set back in the 1980s by a player named Sandy Collins. Thankfully, she snapped that streak in Bad Gastien a couple of weeks later, reaching the quarterfinals and winning her first WTA matches since Dallas in 2012. Hopefully a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.
Williams’ form has been so good that she had compiled a winning streak of 34 matches, the best since her sister Venus won 35 on the trot 13 years prior and taking in titles at Miami, Charleston, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, plus a couple of Fed Cup victories. When Sabine Lisicki stormed back from 3-0 down in the third set of their fourth round match at Wimbledon and smacked one final forehand winner, that streak had come to a spectacular end.
Even more incredible than Williams’ streak was Roger Federer’s run of Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances – the Swiss, in an amazing display of consistency, had reached the last eight of the previous 36 major tournaments, a run dating back to 2004. It seemed highly unlikely that it would be the No.116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky to stop it. But the Russian produced a faultless display of serve-and-volley tennis on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in the second round to shock the error-prone Federer, and the rest of the tennis world in the process.
Two weeks later on that same court, an even bigger streak came to an end. If not the biggest, then the most oft-quoted. The years without a British champion at Wimbledon this year numbered 77, until Andy Murray ended that drought – and whipped crowds into a frenzy – with his historic victory over Novak Djokovic in the final. Shouldering unimaginable pressure, the world No.2 claimed the most prestigious prize in tennis, and his second Grand Slam title.