WTA Adelaide, Melbourne Set Series 2022: Notes from week 1

2022 tennis, hi there. It’s been a MESS of a week as tennis hit the global headlines. I can’t deny that i’ve been hooked by all the drama and am fascinated to see what happens on Monday. This post though will be a Djokovic free zone! The first week of the season always used to be such a buzz on the court. I don’t know why but i’m not feeling it like I used to it. I think it’s just me. I still miss the Hopman Cup which was such a fun, joyous event to start the season. Doesn’t help when it got canned for the dire ATP Cup. I’m not quite sure where i’m heading with the blog anymore but I felt like writing this weekend so please read on for some week 1 highlights that moved me.

Champs πŸ†

WTA 500 Adelaide: Ash Barty is back. The world number one got off to a fine start as she won her first title of the season in Adelaide. Barty was down 4-6 2-4 to Coco Gauff in her first match of 2022 and actually faced a break point that, had she lost it, would have seen Gauff serve for the match. Barty found her forehand in the nick of time to survive, 4-6 7-5 6-1.

From there on, Barty was dominant and the serve was exceptional. There was a serving masterclass in the quarter-finals as Barty rained down 17 aces against Sofia Kenin (pleased to see Sonya back). Barty faced early break points against Swiatek and Rybakina in the semi-finals and final respectively. Once saved, Barty was untouchable and powered home to straight set victories. The win over Swiatek was arguably the most impressive performance of the entire first week. Ominous for the field. Barty looks fresh and in form.

WTA 250 Melbs Set 1: It’s a feel-good opening week as Simona Halep is back in the winner’s circle! Aside from a dicey quarter-final with Viktorija Golubic where she ultimately did well to close it out, it was pretty much smooth sailing for Halep. I thought the final with Veronika Kudermetova would be much closer. Kudermetova had early breaks in both sets but folded rather disappointingly at the ends of both sets as Halep won, 6-2 6-3. I always think, more so than others, that Halep needs matches and court time to be at her best so I think this was the perfect preparation for the Australian Open.

WTA 250 Melbs Set 2: Nice to see one of my tips for 2022 start strong! Amanda Anisimova won her second career title with wins over Alison Van Uytvanck, Sorana Cirstea, Irina-Camelia Begu, Daria Kasatkina and Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The final, the best one of the day, was a rollercoaster contest which Anisimova won, 7-5 1-6 6-4. Anisimova looked done to be honest, nursing a leg injury and down 0-3 in the decider. Anisimova would go onto win six of the last seven games as she turned the third set on it’s head with some frankly peak ballstriking. Niceee speeches from both in the trophy ceremony 😊 .

One to watch πŸ‘€

Zheng Qinwen: Can I make a late update to my WTA Predictions?! I watched Zheng Qinwen for the first time and phwoo, she’s a bigg hitter. Zheng qualified for Melbourne 1 and went all the way to the semis where she made an impression on Halep despite a straight sets loss. One to watch for 2022.

First match 1️⃣

My first match of the 2022 season was Leylah Fernandez against Ekaterina Alexandrova from Adelaide. Not a particularly memorable opener as Fernandez cruised to a 6-3 6-4 victory. It was yet another occasion where I came away disappointed by Alexandrova. The Russian player committed so many (what looked like to me from the comfort of my sofa) unnecessary unforced errors. It was a very steady start to the year from Fernandez who never dropped her guard on serve.

Best match πŸŽ†

Adelaide treated us to some brilliant first week match-ups. No MOTY contenders but some enjoyable contests nonetheless. Barty-Gauff (R2) was good but I think i’d give the edge to Azarenka-Swiatek (QF) despite the disappointing ending where Azarenka was clearly impeded by a leg injury. The first two sets were super quality, a festival of glorious backhands. Swiatek’s movement shone as she darted from side-to-side and did some impressive redirecting into the corners which may have brought on that injury for Azarenka.

Best point  🎾

This rally will be up there with the best of them come the end of the year. Incredible defence from Priscilla Hon who went onto upset Petra Kvitova. Just a shame that the rally ended on an error!

H&H πŸ€—

Azarenka and Badosa embrace after their first round clash. The pair also played doubles together in Adelaide.

Funny moment 🀣

Halep didn’t hold back about her serve after a hard fought three set win over Viktorija Golubic πŸ˜‚.

Super snap πŸ“Έ

πŸ˜‰

Recommended media πŸ“Ί

Anett Kontaveit has joined Twitter, encouraged by Ons Jabeur πŸ˜‚.

Recommended reading πŸ“š

This was a fascinating read. Naomi Osaka seems in a good place right now 😊.

Recommended listening 🎧

This was my favourite podcast over Christmas. Very insightful interview with Blair Henley who is well known for conducting on-court interviews in the US.

Predictions πŸ€”

Adelaide: I had a Barty-Sakkari final with Barty as champ so i’ll take that. I picked Juvan to beat Sabalenka but went the wrong way with Azarenka-Badosa.

Melbourne (1): I went for a Halep-Siniakova final with Simona winning so 2/3 for champs in week 1. I had Osaka to the semis and Konjuh to the QFs. Siniakova not a good pick who was out in round one!

Melbourne (2): Considering how high i’ve been on Anisimova, i’m disappointed I didn’t have her further than the QFs. I went for a Tauson-Pegula final.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter andΒ Facebook. Feature photo by Omar Boraby Photography.

2 thoughts on “WTA Adelaide, Melbourne Set Series 2022: Notes from week 1

  1. I was very impressed with Ash Barty after her hesitant start against Coco. Still not sure if I will pick her to win the AO. She has yet to reach the final in it and I do wonder if she will she cope with the expectations of the Australian spectators and from the media but she might do now that she has won Wimbledon.

    Great to see Simona Halep start the season in good form and win a title. I did not see Amanda Anisimova win the final but I watched some of her earlier matches and I can understand why you selected her for a top 10 WTA rankings finish this year. Only 20 and still learning and I can see her improving more with experience.

    That rally involving Priscilla Hon ( who I had never previously heard of was ) was amazing. Paula Badosa lost against Azarenka but these 2 players are presently closely matched and Paula played well in defeat so I am confident of a good year from her if she remains injury free.

    Ons Jabeur can be so funny ! Anett Kontaveit returns this week in Sydney and it will be interesting to see if she can keep up her improvement from the end of last season. Looking forward to the Sydney WTA event…..I need something to get me through the boring & cold winter months !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still on the fence to picking Barty to win AO but her form is undeniable. I think she generally handles the attention and expectation quite well. Wimbledon was nothing like AO but she did come out and say beforehand it was the one she wanted to win.

      I’ve always been a fan of Anisimova’s game. She’s had a tough few years though including the loss of her dad. Had a few close matches at the end of last year, Pliskova at the US Open springs to mind which was such a high quality match and she had a MP. Not sure if it’s just a one week thing with Darren Cahill but he’s one of the best coaches out there and would be such a huge asset to her team.

      I thought Badosa looked a bit off the pace last week vs. a fantastic Azarenka but no worry, it was only the first week. Did well today to get past Ostapenko in straights and set up another match. Kontaveit is my champ for Sydney but week before a Slam, who knows! Yes, although i’ve not felt as excited about the tennis as i’ve done in the past, it’s a welcome distraction from January!

      Liked by 1 person

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