Editor’s note: This week, we will unveil our top moments from the 2022 season. Here’s a look at the categories:
- Monday: Top match
- Tuesday: Biggest upset
- Wednesday: Top rivalry
- Thursday: Most unexpected champion
- Friday: Best celebration
Believe it or not, there were 55 three-hour matches in 2022, the longest clocking in at 3 hours, 54 minutes when Sara Sorribes Tormo outlasted Camila Osorio in the opening round of Cleveland.
In Grand Slam play, the longest belonged to the 3-hour, 18-minute marathon between Jil Teichmann and Victoria Azarenka.
Did either of those matches make any of our staff’s top match? Here’s a look:
Diane Parry def. Tatjana Maria 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(4), Granby quarterfinals
It was largely overlooked at the time, in the week ahead of the US Open. But away from that looming spectacular, two unique talents proved once again that the essence of the sport isn’t about star names or big-stage glitz.
Tatjana Maria, long one of the foremost exponents of finesse on tour, was up against fast-rising Diane Parry and her one-handed backhand. For 2 hours and 54 minutes, the 35-year-old mother of two and the 19-year-old opponent delivered every shot in the book — and plenty outside it: supreme net skills, athletic scrambling, a vast array of spins and slices.
There were twists and turns, and the quality only went up as the match went on. But despite Maria saving three match points in the second set, it was Parry who showed grit as well as creativity to reach her first WTA semifinal. — Alex Macpherson
Angelique Kerber def. Magdalena Frech 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, Roland Garros first round
Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber saved two match points before overcoming the varied game of Magdalena Frech, with the absorbing baseline contest taking place in front of an outer court crowd, which was roaring with excitement.
Angelique Kerber planning on return to tennis next year
The atmosphere at the two-and-a-half-hour thriller set the tone for an engrossing and unpredictable (except for the champion) Roland Garros.
Kerber teams up with German goalie Neuer to create new skin care line
“I left my heart on court,” Kerber said afterward.
Kerber has cemented herself as a fan favorite with her continued determination to grind out these victories. In fact, just days before, she outlasted Kaja Juvan in 3 hours and 16 minutes to win the Strasbourg final. I expect that her determination will only increase upon her return to tour next year after the birth of her first child. — Jason Juzwiak
Barbora Krejcikova d. Iga Swiatek 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3, Ostrava final
From first point to last, Iga Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova played the highest quality match of the season before the Czech prevailed after 3 hours and 16 minutes to hand Swiatek her first loss in a final since 2019.
It was an electric atmosphere. Even as Krejcikova looked on the verge of closing things out in the final set, Swiatek proved once again just how hard she is to beat, saving five championship points before Krejcikova took the racquet out of her hand and converted with an ace.
As we look ahead to 2023, the hope is that Swiatek forces the rest of the field to elevate their own games to catch her. Iron sharpens iron, as the saying goes, and we saw precisely that in Ostrava. — Courtney Nguyen