Over the next two weeks, we're looking back at 10 years’ worth of memorable marathons and top-shelf tennis from the WTA’s boldest and bravest.
See the entire women's and men's lists here, and relive each match with our video retrospectives.
Maybe it’s the round-robin format, which takes a little pressure off the players. Maybe it’s the good crowds and big money, which motivates them. Whatever the reason, the WTA’s year-end championships routinely feature some of each season’s classic contests. There was no better example of that phenomenon than this knock-down, drag-out, never-surrender battle between two of the women’s tour’s most cussed competitors.
At the time, Victoria Azarenka was firmly established at No. 1, while Angelique Kerber was ascending the rankings. It still wasn’t clear how far the German could climb with her defense-first style; her performance on this day helped the future No. 1 understand that she was capable of just about anything.
For three hours and six minutes, over three relentlessly close sets, Azarenka and Kerber did what they do best: Vika pounded her ground strokes, and Angie ran them down. Kerber ran fast enough to save four set points in the first-set tiebreaker to win it, 13–11. In the second set, Azarenka came back from the brink, saving two match points. While Azarenka led early in the third, Kerber fought back again before finally falling.
"It was definitely a great fight,” Azarenka said, in an understatement. As pure competition, there wasn’t a better one all decade.