Ana Ivanovic ensured 2014 will be the best year of her career to date after beating Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
The third-seeded Ivanovic won 17 points in a row to claim the first set and then battled back from 3-1 down in the second to take the victory 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) against US Open runner-up Wozniacki, who was seeded second here.
Ivanovic’s triumph means the Serbian has won four WTA titles this year – beating her previous record of three titles each in 2007 and 2008 – while she has also now won 52 matches in 2014, also a new personal record for a season.
Ivanovic said on wtatennis.com: “Caroline played a great match today. It was a really good battle out there – there were some very tough moments, especially in the second set.
“But I just tried to take it one point at a time, and I’m really happy to make it through. It’s just an amazing feeling to win this title.”
The Serbian’s win in Japan also takes her a step closer to qualifying for the WTA Finals, with this victory set to see the 26-year-old former world No 1 climb from eighth spot to fifth in the Road to Singapore leaderboard.
“I’m really happy that this is one step closer to the WTA Finals in Singapore,” said Ivanovic, who needs to be among the top eight to qualify for the tournament. “It’s coming close and everything’s on the line.”
Victoria Azarenka will miss rest of the tennis season as she tries to make a full recovery from injuries that plagued her year, the former world No 1 said yesterday. The two-time grand slam champion withdrew from this week’s Wuhan Open in China with a foot injury and later announced she would be out of action for the remainder of the season.
“Unfortunately I will not be competing in any tournaments for the remainder of the season,” the 25-year-old Belarusian said on Facebook. “It has been a very tough year for me.
“I have been trying my best to improve day in and day out by pushing and pushing... but that does not appear to be the best approach for me right now.
“I will use this time to work on making a full recovery and take care of my body to compete at my best next season.”
Azarenka, the Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, has struggled the whole year with foot and knee troubles and missed numerous tournaments, which has seen her singles ranking plummet to 25 in the world.
Karolina Pliskova was finally able to celebrate a tournament victory this year after beating Varvara Lepchenko in three sets in the final of the Korean Open in Seoul.
Pliskova had lost her three previous WTA finals of 2014 but the second-seeded Czech put that run of disappointments behind her with a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 success over American Lepchenko, the fifth seed.
The 22-year-old Pliskova, who beat top seed Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the final, now has two titles to her name having also won in Kuala Lumpur last year.
She had chances to win in Pattaya City, Nurnberg and Hong Kong this year, but came up short in the final each time.
Meanwhile, Belgian David Goffin claimed his second career title with a straight-sets victory over Portugal’s Joao Sousa at the Moselle Open in Metz in north-east France.
The eighth-seeded 23-year-old beat his sixth-seeded opponent 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 14 minutes.
Goffin broke once in the first set and twice in the second as he saved all four break points he faced in the match.