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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday December 14, 2021

 
Barbora Krejcikova

For the first time since 2005, two WTA players saved match points en route to claiming hardware in 2021.

Photo Source: Getty

Winning a tournament is a very special affair on the ATP and WTA Tour. But how about winning a tournament after saving a match point during the tournament? That’s even better, but you know what takes the cake, saving match points to close out a final – just ask Rafael Nadal – or saving a match point en route to winning a major – just ask Naomi Osaka and Barbora Krejcikova.

Tennis Express

Below have a look at our match point mavens – all the players who saved match points en route to titles in 2021:

1. Anett Kontaveit saved two match points in a match-tiebreak to outlast Maria Sakkari in the Grampians Trophy semifinals 2-6, 6-3, [11-9], and the Estonian ended up sharing the title with American Ann Li, when the final was cancelled.

2. Italy’s Jannik Sinner was cool as the other side of the pillow this year in Melbourne, as he saved a match point to defeat Karen Khachanov in the semifinals. The then19-year-old saved match point with all-out aggression at 5-6, 30/40 in the decider to beat Karen Khachanov 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4) in three hours and seven minutes, and then went on to defeat Stefano Travaglia in the final.

3. Naomi Osaka, was one of two players – male or female - to save match points en route to winning a major title in 2021. The Japanese star erased two match points at 5-3 in the final set before rallying to take the final four games in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Garbiñe Muguruza in the Australian Open fourth round. She went on to claim her fourth major title by defeating Jen Brady in the final.

4. The great Roger Federer was back in action in Doha this year but it was Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili who stole the show by saving a match point against the Swiss Maestro in the quarterfinals. Basilashvili would go on to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the final, 7-6 (5), 6-2, to capture the fourth ATP title of his career—and his first since July 2019.

5. Ash Barty was playing outside Australia for the first time in 13 months at Miami this year, and she was in deep trouble in her very first match at the Miami Open, trailing World No.149 Kristina Kucova 2-5 in the third set in round two. But the world No.1 fired a return winner to save a match point at 4-5, and came through 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. She would later take the crown, defeating Canada’s Bianca Andreescu in the final.

6. In the spring of 2021, the King of Clay found himself in big trouble in the final at Barcelona, but he went on to save a championship point to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 and claim his record 12th Barcelona Open title in what was the ATP’s longest three-set match of 2021 at three hours and 45 minutes.

7. Nadal wasn’t done with his match point miracles in Barcelona. The Spaniard topped feisty Denis Shapovalov by saving two match points in the third round at Rome. Nadal won an epic three-hour, 27-minute encounter and emerged victorious, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) over the Canadian. Nadal was the only ATP player that saved match points en route to winning an ATP title twice in 2021.

8. There was more match point madness in Rome, as Iga Swiatek won from match point down for the first time in a WTA main draw in her third round at Rome, saving two match points down 5-6 in set two before beating Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 - and going on to win the title in spectacular fashion.

9. And finally, to cap off the clay season at Roland-Garros, it was Barbora Krejcikova’s turn to rally from the brink. Krejcikova fought off one match point to defeat Maria Sakkari 7-5, 4-6, 9-7 in the Roland Garros semifinals en route to her first Grand Slam singles title. The Czech went on to take out Anastasia Pavluchenkova in the final in Paris.

Those are 2021s match point mavens – their hard-earned titles were yet another reason that the 2021 season was so memorable. Which one of the eight was your favorite? Join the conversation by dropping your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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