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Novak Djokovic is back, Angelique Kerber is a big-match player and more things learned from Wimbledon 2018

It's been an eventful two weeks at Wimbledon. Reem Abulleil takes a look at things learned from these Championships.

Reem Abulleil 2018/07/15

An eventful Championships has concluded at Wimbledon with Angelique Kerber claiming a maiden title at SW19, and third major overall, and Novak Djokovic winning a first Grand Slam in more than two years by lifting the Wimbledon trophy for a fourth time.

Here are things we learned from the action in south-west London these past two weeks.

NOVAK’S BACK

As Djokovic said during the trophy ceremony, there is no better place to announce that he’s finally “back” than on Wimbledon Centre Court, as a Grand Slam champion for a 13th time. His two-year major drought included many moments of doubt but just like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and other stars, Djokovic proved that you should never discount the greats. He’s back in the top-10, has a tight win over Nadal under his belt, and has clinched his first title in 13 months.

KERBER’S A BIG MATCH PLAYER

In each of the four Grand Slam finals she has contested so far in her career, Kerber has managed to bring her A-game, even in the one she lost to Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2016. The German is a big-match player and her straight-sets rout of Williams in Saturday’s final was further testament to that.

“I really look forward to these matches, because these are the matches where I know I have to play my best tennis. These are the matches when I’m practicing and working hard, I always have these matches in my mind,” says Kerber.

NADAL FINDS HIS GRASS TOUCH

It had been seven years since Nadal last made it past the fourth round at Wimbledon and the Spaniard finally ended his tough run at the All England Club by making the semis this fortnight. His five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters and his five-set defeat to Djokovic in the semis were arguably the best two men’s matches contested this season. Beyond the result of reaching the last-four, it’s the aggressive way he was playing on grass that must be the most encouraging for him.

“Normally I am very critical with myself. But I hit a great shots. I played aggressive. I missed balls, not too many, but I missed some ones. When you play with that intensity, with that level of risk, that level of passion, sometimes you go over, no? Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best,” was his assessment of his loss to Djokovic.

SERENA’S JUST GETTING STARTED

Reaching the Wimbledon final in just her fourth tournament back is an incredible feat for Williams, who has already spent two decades raising the bar and defying all odds.

“I’m literally just getting started,” said the 36-year-old, who had her first child, Olympia, last September.

She was improving with every match throughout the fortnight, and came up short against an incredibly fit and in-form Kerber. Watch out for Williams at the US Open!

OLD IS GOLD

Both the men’s and women’s finals were contested by players aged 30 or older – a first for either draw in the Open Era. Just when you think the younger generation will start to make its move, the veterans reassert their position at the summit.

BIG FOUR DOMINATION AT SW19

The ‘Big Four’ stranglehold on the Wimbledon men’s singles title continues for a 16th consecutive year with Lleyton Hewitt being the last man outside that group to triumph here back in 2002.

KASATKINA RISING

Making back-to-back quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, 21-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina is having a statement 2018, having also placed runner-up in Indian Wells and Dubai this season. With strong results on hard courts, clay and grass, she’s proving to be an all-court threat and gaining more confidence on the big stage by the minute.

GOOD FORTNIGHT FOR THE MOMS

Besides Williams’ run to the final, Wimbledon has been a triumphant tournament for several mothers in the draw. Tatjana Maria shocked fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the first round, Evgeniya Rodina made it all the way to the fourth round as a qualifier, and Victoria Azarenka reached the final in mixed doubles alongside first-time partner Jamie Murray.

WATCH OUT FOR TSITSIPAS AND DE MINAUR ON GRASS

Two 19-year-olds, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Alex de Minaur of Australia, showed some impressive grass-court credentials at Wimbledon as well as in the build-up. Tsitsipas, who had only ever won just one main draw match at a Grand Slam coming to the All England Club stormed into the fourth round before falling to John Isner. De Minaur, who won 13 of 16 matches this grass-court season including a Challenger title, fell to Nadal in the third round at Wimbledon.

“He’s going to be a guy that’s going to love playing on grass for his whole career. These type of balls, nightmare, so flat,” said Kyrgios of De Minaur.

PENKO REBOUNDS

After losing in the first round of her title defence at Roland Garros just a few weeks ago, 21-year-old Jelena Ostapenko bounced back in the best way possible, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, where she won as a junior just four years ago. Within a span of 13 months, Ostapenko has won Roland Garros, reached the final in Miami and made semis at Wimbledon. She’s here to stay!

 

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Angelique Kerber Novak Djokovic Serena Williams