Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

‘Real deal’ Kvitova has talent to dominate

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The season-ending WTA championships had many story lines. Could Maria Sharapova recover from her ankle injury to threaten at the year-end championships and become world number one again? Would one of the new major winners lift the trophy? Could Caroline Wozniacki continue her reign as world number one for a second straight year and win the end of season championships for the first time?

This is the first time the end of season championships have been held in Istanbul, Turkey. The crowds have been packed all week so it was an excellent choice of city. The stadium looked great and so did the green tennis court with the purple outer court. The tennis throughout was brilliant.

Unfortunately for Sharapova she had to pull out after her second round robin match against Li Na, thus ending her challenge of becoming world number one. This meant Wozniacki ended up finishing as world number one for the second year running without winning a major and having only won one match at the season-ending championships.

The good news for the event was the brilliant play of the major winners in these championships. Petra Kvitova, Li and Samantha Stosur all played well.

Rusedski reflects on Federer’s form and the Australian Open

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The crowd at the Hisense Arena is reflected on the sunglasses of a spectator during the match between Maria Sharapova of Russia and Julia Goerges of Germany at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 21, 2011.           REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

I always enjoy the Australian Open because the matches never fail to be interesting and we never quite know the form of the players due to the few preparation tournaments. Going into the event there was a big question mark over how Rafael Nadal was feeling after having a virus in the first week of the year in Doha. Could he make history and hold all four slams at the same time? The only men to do so in the history of tennis are Don Budge and Rod Laver.

The best five men going into the tournament were all playing really well. Roger Federer was going in to the tournament having won Doha. New world number 4, Robin Soderling won Brisbane, while Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both went undefeated at the Hopman Cup.

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