Tuesday September 23rd, 2014

Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Last week, Ana Ivanovic claimed a victory in Tokyo, Li Na retired from tennis and Sam Stosur lost early in Guangzhou​. 

Trophy winners

Ana Ivanovic: It's hard to say this is the best year of Ana Ivanovic's career, given she won a major and ascended to No. 1 in 2008, but after winning her career-high fourth title of the season with a straight set win over Caroline Wozniacki at the Tokyo Open, Ivanovic has now won a career-best and WTA-leading 52 matches in 2014. She is now up to No. 5 in the Road to Singapore rankings, but unfortunately for Ivanovic she got the rough end of the schedule at the Wuhan Open, where she took the court 24 hours after winning in Tokyo and had to retire with a right thigh injury. 

David Goffin: The Belgian just keeps winning. Ranked outside the top 100 just two and a half months ago, Goffin is now up to No. 32 after winning his second ATP title of the season with a straight set win over Joao Sousa at the Moselle Open in Metz, France. Goffin beat top-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 and rolled to the title from there. He's now won 34 of his last 36 matches. That's an insane clip. 

Karolina Pliskova: Up to a career-high No. 31, the young Czech talent is finally coming into her own. After making the final in Hong Kong she did one better last week at the Korea Open, beating Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2​ to win her first title of the season and second of her career. She's kept her roll going this week too, beating Sam Stosur and Andrea Petkovic to make the third round at the Wuhan Open. She's now 13-2 over her last three tournaments, including a win over Ana Ivanovic at the U.S. Open.

Monica Niculescu: In searing heat, Niculescu proved her resilience by coming back from 2-4 down to Alize Cornet in the Guangzhou Open final to win 10 straight games and the match. She lost just 17 games in five matches en route to her second WTA title. The only player to have a more dominant run this year is Garbine Muguruza, who won Hobart losing just 15 games. 

More aces

Nicole Vaidisova: In her first professional match since 2010, Vaidisova beat Sesil Karatantcheva at an ITF tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She's also been awarded a wild card into the Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas, beginning on Sept. 27. The comeback is on. 

Varvara Lepchenko: The American made her first WTA final with a great run in Seoul, beating No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska ​6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2​ for the second time in two months and then saving match points against Christina McHale in the semifinals to win 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5)​. 

Former prodigy Nicole Vaidisova is back on the pro-tennis circuit

Caroline Wozniacki: She came up short in the Tokyo Open final but she's now 28-7 since the French Open, with three of those losses coming to Serena Williams. Her run to the final also helped her cause while she tries to qualify for the WTA Finals. 

Joao Sousa: He booked his spot in the Metz final by stunning Gael Monfils in straight sets, winning 7-6(6), 6-2​ in the semifinals of the Moselle Open. Sousa saved eight of nine break points and cleaned up the match in 88 minutes. That's a great win. 

Garbine Muguruza: The 20-year-old Spaniard made her first Premier-level semifinal at the Tokyo Open, losing in three sets to Wozniacki. She's nearing a top 20 finish to the year, an impressive feat given she shut down her season after Wimbledon last year to undergo ankle surgery.

Li Na: Has there ever been a better retirement letter


Sam Stosur: The top seed in Guangzhou lost 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round to Yan Wafang, a Chinese wildcard ranked No. 187. 

Agnieszka Radwanska: The defending champion in Seoul, she was the only player ranked inside the top 35 and lost in the quarterfinals.

Photo of the week

A woman reaches out to touch a statue of Chinese tennis star Li Na at a park in Wuhan, her hometown, in China's Hubei province.

Video of the week

Caroline Wozniacki wins a point and screams "Idemo!", which means "Come on!" in Serbian.

In case you missed it

• Thanks for the memories, Li Na. 

Victoria Azarenka decided to shut down her season so she can rest her body and get fit for 2015. Smart decision. The two-time Slam champion is a gamechanger when she's healthy and it's been hard to watch her play while physically compromised. 

• Nick Kyrgios is also shutting down his season after this week's Malaysian Open, citing burnout. 

• 18-year-old Ashleigh Barty has decided to take an indefinite leave from professional tennis. 

• The 2015 Davis Cup draw is out and the United States will take on Great Britain in the first round in February. Britain will host but will Murray play? Other notable first round ties: Serbia vs. Croatia and Canada vs. Japan. 

Passing shots

• Bodies failing, youngsters burning out, champions fighting recover from injury and get fit. Is tennis' unrelenting schedule doing more harm than good? 

What now for tennis in China

• Which player do you want to see try and make a viable comeback? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter (@SI_Tennis). 

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