Team USA in Review: January 2017

February 3, 2017 06:02 AM

By Pat Mitsch

If January was any kind of indication of what the coming year holds for American tennis, any number of faces, both fresh and established, will find the spotlight.

Here’s a look at how Americans did on the pro tours in January:

Players of the Month:

Women: Serena and Venus Williams

  • The latest chapter of the Williams sisters’ remarkable story saw Serena defeat Venus in the Australian Open final – their ninth meeting in a Grand Slam title match – to win her 23rd major singles championship. Serena, who returned to world No. 1 with the victory, officially passed Steffi Graf to lead all Open-Era players in major singles titles and now trails only Margaret Court (24) on the all-time list. Thirty-six-year-old Venus, meanwhile, became the oldest Australian Open women’s finalist ever in reaching her 15th major final, her first since 2009.

Men: Jack Sock

  • The 24-year-old Sock started the year by winning his second career ATP title, in Auckland, New Zealand, and vaulting to a career-high No. 20 in the world.

Further American tennis highlights from January:

  • CoCo Vandeweghe defeated top-seeded and then-world No. 1 Angelique Kerber en route to her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the Australian Open.
  • Bethanie Mattek-Sands became the world’s No. 1-ranked doubles player after winning the doubles title in Brisbane and soon after won her fourth major doubles championship in women's doubles in Melbourne.
  • Lauren Davis won her first career WTA title, in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Abigail Spears won the Australian Open mixed doubles title, her first Grand Slam championship of any kind.
  • Alison Riske reached her fifth WTA final, in Shenzhen, China.
  • Additional superlatives from the Australian Open:
    • The tournament began with 32 Americans (14 men, 18 women) in the singles main draws, the most for a Grand Slam outside of the U.S. since the 2003 French Open.
    • The 18 American women in the singles main draw weres the most in the Australian Open since 2003.
    • The 14 men, which led all nations in Melbourne, included five players to come through qualifying, the first time five Americans qualified into the Australian Open since 2007.
    • Seven of those 14 American men were aged 20 or younger – the most American men 20 or younger in a Grand Slam main draw since the 2006 US Open.