Saturday School: Women with most straight sets win at slams in 2018

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In 2017, there were four different winners of each of the majors and in 2018 the trend continued. The Australian Open was won by Caroline Wozniacki, the Roland Garros by Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber won Wimbledon and Naomi Osaka was triumphant at the US Open. Unlike the men’s game, the women play in the conventional best of three sets format at the slams. The US Open is the only slam to have a tiebreak set in the decider. Let us see how dominant was one lady champion was at the other three slams and who recorded the most straight sets win in slams in 2018.

Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys -15

 

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Angelique Kerber won her third grand slam title at Wimbledon this year, making her only a Roland Garros title away from winning the career grand slam. The German began the season by being ranked No.16 at the Australian Open. Up until the semis she only dropped one set which was against Su-Wei Hsieh in the round of 16. Kerber would then face Simona Halep in the semifinals. Halep took the first set by Kerber fought back and forced a decider. The decider ended with a scoreline of 9-7 in the Romanian’s favor. Kerber jumped four spots in the ranking by the time she entered the French Open. Kerber did not drop a set until the quarterfinals. The former World No.1’s impressive run was yet again by Simona Halep who came from behind to win the match 6-7 6-3 6-2. Seeded eleventh at Wimbledon, Kerber dropped only one set in the entire tournament which was agaiinst America’s Claire Liu in the second round. Kerber was seeded fourth at the Flushing Meadows and she began with a 7-6 6-3 win over Margarita Gasparyan. The 2016 US Open champion’s run was halted by Dominika Cibulkova in three sets in he third round.
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Madison Keys began her slam season by winning four consecutive straight sets matches at the Australian. The American reached the quarterfinals but lost to Kerber in straight sets. Keys was ranked seven spots higher before the Roland Garros than she was at the Australian Open. Yet again, up until the semifinals she did not drop a set. In a repeat of the 2017 US Open final, Sloane Stephens defeated her compatriot in the semifinals in straight sets. Seeded tenth at Wimbledon, Keys began wit straight set wins in her first two matches. However in her third round match, Evgeniya Rodina defeated her in three set after a match that lasted for more than two hours. Keys dropped three spots in her ranking and was seeded fourteenth for the US Open. Being the defending runner-up, Keys put on an impressive performance by reaching the semifinals at the loss of only one set. In the semis, she lost to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets.

Naomi Osaka – 13

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Naomi Osaka won her maiden US Open title in a dramatic fashion by defeating her idol Serena Williams in the final. But before the US Open, Osaka had a moderate run at each of the slams, failing to reach the quarterfinals in any of them. At the Australian Open she was defeated by Simona Halep in the Round of 16 after the Japanese won her first three matches in straight sets. At Roland Garros, Osaka began by straight sets win over Zarina Diyas and Sofia Kenin. But in the third round she lost to Madison Keys in straight sets. Wimbledon saw a similar pattern and this time it was eventual champion Angelique Kerber who defeated Osaka in the third round. In the process of winning her maiden grand slam title, Osaka dropped only one set which was against Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round.

Serena Williams – 12

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Serena Williams finished as the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open. She had to skip the Australian Open as she was gradually recovering after her pregnancy. Williams began her grand slam season at the Roland Garros ranked World No.451. She reached the fourth round, winning two straight set matches. The former World No.1 was on the verge of renewing her rivalry against Maria Sharapova but pulled out moments before the match due to a pectoral muscle injury. At Wimbledon, Camila Giorgi was the only player who managed to win a set against Serena Williams before the younger Williams sibling reached the finals. Williams reached the finals but lost to Kerber in straight sets. At the US Open, Kaia Kanepi, who defeated Simona Halep in the first round was the only player who managed to win a set against Serena Williams before the American reached the finals. Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 in a dramatic fashion.

Elise Mertens – 11

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Elise Mertens was ranked No.37 when she entered the Australian Open. She did not drop a set before reaching the semifinals. In the semis she lost to eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. In the next three slams, the Belgian failed to get past the fourth round. However, of the 11 matches she played at the next three slams, she recorded straight sets win in seven of these matches. She lost to eventual champion Simona Halep in the Round of 16 at Roland Garros in straight sets. At Wimbledon, Mertens fell to Dominika Cibulkova in the third round and at the US Open she was defeated by Sloane Stephens in the third round.

Simona Halep – 10

 

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Ranked as the No.1 player in each of the slams, Halep finished as the runner-up at the Australian Open and won her maiden grand slam title at the Roland Garros. Halep won 15 matches at the slams this year. Ten of these wins came in straight sets. She was forced to got the distance against Lauren Davis and Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open. Roland Garros saw Halep win in three sets against Alison Riske, Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens. Unfortunate for the World No.1, she was ousted in the third round by Su Wei Hsieh at Wimbledon. At the US Open, Halep had another setback as she lost to Kaia Kanepi in the first round. However, Halep had amassed enough points in the first half of the year in order to secure her No.1 rank even after the US Open.

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