what a year it has been. li na won the aussie open over a new member of the runner-up circle, dominika cibulkova. in a heartbreaking loss, rafael nadal lost for the first time to stan wawrinka in the aussie open finals. roland garros was still rafa's turf (his ninth RG title), no question about that. maria sharapova regained the title, beating another first time RU, simona halep. in wimbledon, petra kvitova once again lifted the trophy, overwhelming a hapless eugenie bouchard, the third member of the first time RU circle in 2014. nole won his second wimbledon title over federer. in the US open, marin cilic gate-crashed the grand slam loop and won the title over one of my favorites, kei nishikori. serena williams finally won a grand slam title in 2014, beating 2009 RU, caroline wozniacki.
there were two first grand slam titlists in the men's game. since the 2005 australian open and before 2014, there have only been two GS winners who are not surnamed federer, nadal, djokovic or murray. these were marat safin (2005 australian open) and juan martin del potro (2009 US open). but in 2014, wawrinka put on great 2 weeks and cilic surprised everyone (including himself) when he went home with the title.
while he ended the year at number 2 (with 5 titles), federer was still slam-less in 2014. he lost to rafa in the aussie open semis, to ernests gulbis in RG fourth round, to nole in the wimbledon finals and then to cilic in the US open semis. does he still have a slam in him? to his standards, rafa had a disappointing season. although he won 4 titles, he had unfortunate losses to lower-ranked players and had to skip the rest of the season due to appendicitis. andy murray also had a below par season, when he won his first title of the year only in late september. of course there were also success stories such as nishikori's. although he didn't bring home asia's first grand slam title, he won 4 titles this year and ended the year at number 5 (finalist at US open and semis at the london season-ender).
in the women's game, all four GS winners were all former slam titleholders. third time in the aussie open finals was lucky for li na who won her second slam. unfortunately, li na retired in september after failing to post good results from the clay season to the hardcourt season. sharapova finally won a second title in a grand slam tournament, while kvitova proved that she's one of the best when her penetrating shots land in to win her second wimbledon title.
good to see young players stepping up and challenging the more fancied players. simona halep is the key player here, with 2 titles, very good results in the slams and runner-up to serena in the singapore season-ender. bouchard had a very good year as well, highlighted by her semis finish in the first two slams and RU at wimbledon. serena had dismal grand slam result until she won the US open in september. she finished the season as the top ranked player (at the age of 33) and won the season-ender. sharapova also had a good year and wozniacki seems to have found her old defensive mojo again. although she didn't figure quite strongly in the slams, ana ivanovic quietly put on a very strong year, finishing at number 5… her highest ranking since 2008. disappointment? agnieszka radwanska. i would have loved to see her contend for the big prizes but she was often overshadowed by the younger pretenders.
i'm so looking forward to the 2015 season. i want to see radwanska win a slam, victoria azarenka's strong comeback (she's very much capable of beating serena), sharapova win another slam, ivanovic win another slam and serena continuing to be the force that she is. i wonder how first time GS winners wawrinka and cilic figure in the mix but i'm hoping that nishikori wins a slam next year… not in rafa's expense of course, other players are fair game! i want to see either rafa, federer or murray take over the top ranking and more slams for rafa!
2015 season starts in december 31.