Noisemakers in 2011
Maria Sharapova - even thought she lost early to eventual ASB Classic champion Greta Arn in the quarterfinals, Maria’s 2011 has been her best year on tour since 2008 when she won her third grand slam and hit #1 in the world. Maria reached the semifinals at the French Open and final at Wimbledon and her ranking has surged to #2 in the world. Is a return to the top spot in her future?
Julia Goerges - the young German reached the 2011 ASB Classic semifinals, and immediately afterward would threaten to upset Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open. Since her great summer Down Under, she made great strides and cracked the top 20 for the first time in her career. With not one, but two upsets of #1 Caroline Wozniacki this year, she captured her second career title in front of her home crowd in Stuttgart.
Peng Shaui - After losing an intense three-setter in Auckland in 2011 to then defending champion Yanina Wickmayer, Peng went on to be one point away from the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Though holding match points against #12 seed Agnieska Radwanska, Peng lost in the fourth round but that was only a sign of what was to come for her 2011 season. Peng got close to many big wins this year and she's seen her ranking jump to #15 in the world after ending 2010 ranked 70 in the world on the WTA tour.
Sabine Lisicki made the main draw of the ASB Classic and lost a tough three setter to eventual finalist Yanina Wickmayer. Then the young German, known for her big serve, would go on to a great 2011, reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon and surging up the rankings to reach the top 20.
Brit Heather Watson qualified for the 2011 ASB Classic and then reached the QF and put a big scare recently when she faced Maria Sharapova in the first round of the US Open this year. Heather led a set and a break before Maria would fight her way to a win.