Wednesday December 3rd, 2014

From marquee matches to feisty feuds, to major meltdowns and the tennis Twitter, and all of fashion faux-pas and sexy, skillful shots in between, SI Tennis' Year-End Awards have the entire span of the 2014 tennis season covered. Check back throughout the month of December to see the best and worst of the season. 

Best Shots

Petra Kvitova's Wimbledon backhand. It was the moment she knew she was in "the zone" in the final against Eugenie Bouchard. It was also the moment every tennis writer covering that match closed their notebooks and the All England Club probably fired up the engraving machine. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/jyPjctWz-DU]


Agnieszka Radwanksa's clutch backhand overhead smash in Montreal. We have a separate tribute to Radwanska's black magic shot-making sorcery, but this was the one that took home the WTA's Shot of the Year prize. Mind you, she hit this to save break point in a Premier semifinal and went on to win the title.


Andrea Petkovic carves it up in Paris. Even PseudoFed saw this one.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/YNThUywOUyE]


Alize Cornet hits the perfect pancake lob over Serena Williams. I can't really explain how Cornet finished the season 3-0 against Serena, including a big win at Wimbledon. Then again, I can't really explain how she pulled off this shot either: 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJO4ags36Ws]


Venus Williams' deft touch in Dubai. Not only does Venus track down the well-hit drop shot, she somehow hits the softest dropper back while on a full forward sprint. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_NMiFyFB_Y​]


Ana Ivanovic's running volley in Tokyo. En route to her fourth title of the season, Ivanovic read the play and showed off her touch with a low volley winner. 


Sabine Lisicki's 131mph serve. The serve set the new record, besting Venus' 129 mph mark, but the crazy thing is Ivanovic almost hit the shot of the year off the return. Just missed it. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha2Hvtz08Sk]


Maria Sharapova's backhand slice winner. It's like spotting a unicorn.

 


Serena's forehand pass. Down 3-4 in the tiebreaker in a tight match against Sam Stosur in Cincinnati, Serena found something special. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvOVW21bZzE]


Eugenie Bouchard takes a tumble in Portugal. It's the classic "Slip, fall, give up on the point, then take advantage of the fact that your opponent somehow hit it right back at you, get up, and win the point with a winner." Tale as old as time.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VNYwgrJxGQ]

Best points

Angelique Kerber and Jelena Jankovic played the point of the year -- it rightfully took home the WTA's award for the accolade. Ridiculous defense from Kerber, who punctuates it with a winner to break.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6yf1iEnr9MQ]


Caroline Wozniacki stunned Sharapova with her defense. It was the point that got into Sharapova's head -- that defense! -- and boosted Wozniacki to her biggest win of the season and, arguably, her career. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xVJ_Qnk8qSU]


Simona Halep outlasted Sharapova in the French Open final. Sharapova always describes their matches as incredibly physical. Watch this point and you can see why.


Alexandra Krunic lit up Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open. Few knew much about the 21-year-old Serb before this year, but she put on quite a show under the lights when she nearly followed up her upsets of Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova with a win over Victoria Azarenka. 

[tweet=https://twitter.com/MBSchwietz/status/506897993485012994]


Ivanovic kept her blood pressure in check in Cincinnati. This match was known for launching one of the best tennis disses of the year and it also had some great tennis. This gutsy defending and forehand down the line winner -- in the 12th game of the final set -- was just a snippet.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/to2_4E4_ZIY]


Halep Radwanska-ed Radwanska: And on the 25th shot, Halep feathers a drop shot. The finger wag says it all.


Wozniacki showed her net skills at the WTA Finals. She saved match point against Serena in memorable fashion.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW1sipn168o]


Sharapova ran Kerber ragged at Wimbledon, but Kerbergot the last laugh and upset Sharapova 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, but she had to applaud the point construction here. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkaOVpfWQWw]


Kerber turned it around against Kvitova. For a player we don't talk about often, Kerber outpunched her ranking by playing some terrific points. Here she turned the point around with an improvised stick-save and finished Kvitova off with a forehand winner. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ax0xnXtxgMo]


Radwanska outfoxed Azarenka at the Australian Open. It was one of those points that convinces you the Pole can see the game like it's chess and is always four moves ahead of her opponents.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/nR3hC70XeoI]

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