If one were to rate women tennis players on consistency in the 2014 season, then Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki pick themselves up without a shred of doubt. While the year was also interspersed with other stellar performances from the likes of Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros and Serena Williams in the year’s last Grand Slam at the Flushing Meadow, Bouchard and Wozniacki stood away from the pack in making the steadiest progress. These two have made the most impressive strides through the year, while Australian Open surprise Cibulkova couldn’t continue the momentum. Despite holding the top two WTA ranks, Serena and Maria couldn’t maintain consistency in their games in several major tournaments. Bouchard’s attacking instincts on the court coupled with her extraordinarily charming looks have earned her a large number of followers across the world. Watching such an attractive women, shunting around the tennis court, make for a delightful sight for those sitting in the stands. While Bouchard has stormed into the last 10 and is currently ranked 7, Wozniacki is not far behind. For the Danish woman, 2014 has been a year of great revival and she finished the season at no.8 in the world. If Wozniacki’s last six months’ is any barometer, she could be the biggest threat at the Australian Open that begins on January 19, 2015. She had a few personal problems in 2013 but she left them all behind her and concentrated on tennis with renewed vigor.
The first matches that Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki played in 2014 were eminently forgettable. Both of them chose the WTA Premier Apia International at Sydney to begin their 2014 campaign. But while Bouchard made the first round exit, Wozniacki progressed to the second round before losing to Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova. But Bouchard made her mark in the 2014 Australian Open, where she was seeded 30th. The Canadian beauty surprised everyone and reached the semifinals before losing to the eventual champion Li Na of China. 10th seeded Wozniacki didn’t go that far but still progressed to the fourth round where she lost to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza after a fighting 3-set match. It was a great beginning for Bouchard. In the French open in May, Bouchard reached the semifinals but once again she lost to the eventual champion Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki, however suffered the first round exit, losing in three sets to Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer. In the Wimbledon, Bouchard made history by becoming the first player from Canada to reach a Grand Slam final, where she lost to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Wozniacki also did well at Wimbledon by progressing to the fourth round before losing to another Czech woman, Zahlavova Strycova. In year’s last Grand Slam in US, Bouchard lost in the 4th round to Russia’s Ekatarina Makarova but Wozniacki played great tennis and reached the final before retiring mid-way in her match against Serena Williams.
Both Bouchard and Wozniacki made it to within the last 8 in WTA rankings and qualified for the year-end BNP Paribas WTA Finals at Singapore. But Bouchard had a bad tournament, in which she lost all her matches against Serena Williams; Simona Halep and Ana Ivanovic. In sharp contrast, Wozniacki won every league match that she played and defeated Sharapova, Kvitova and Radawanska. However she lost to Serena in the semifinals.
As the year ended, Wozniacki also travelled to India to play for UAE Royal in fun-format tennis tournament called International Premier Tennis League, organized by India’s Mahesh Bhupathy. The Dane played a few sets and enjoyed the end of 2014 in her own way. Bouchard was also scheduled to play in IPTL but she was forced to withdraw at the last moment. She was replaced by Kristina Mladenovic. However, Bouchard went to the Caribbean for Richard Branson’s Necker Cup as part of her media obligations. The 20-year-old Bouchard has a little problem these days because she has parted company with her long-time mentor Nick Saviano and she is looking for a new coach. At the same time she is also preparing for the Hopman Cup in Perth with fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil. That tournament begins on January 4, 2015.
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