On 30 June 2012, Slava made history by becoming the only player ever to win a Golden Set at a Grand Slam tournament. She also became the first woman and only the 2nd player ever in professional tennis to do it, after Bill Scanlon achieved the remarkable feat in 1983 in a tournament in Delray Beach, Florida. In her third round match against world #10 and Roland Garros finalist, Sara Errani, Slava played perfect tennis to win the first set 6-0, without losing a single point. What makes the 24 straight points even more impressive is that Errani only hit one unforced error in the set. Slava went on to win the match 6-0 6-4 and it was only after the match that she found out she had made it into the history books. “I had no idea. I was just playing each point and focusing so hard. My coach told me after the match when I was cooling down and I didn’t believe him so I went and asked my manager and she said it was true! It is unbelievable and I am very happy to make this history”.
As 2012 comes to an end, the international media are recognizing Slava’s Golden Set as one of the greatest moments in sport. ESPN listed it at #14 in their top 100 moments in tennis for 2012, and Sports Illustrated put it at 87 in their list of the 112 most memorable moment in all sports for 2012, an accomplishment even more noteworthy in an Olympic year full of great sports stories. To read some of the media reports or to watch the Golden Set, visit the Media section on this site.
The WTA announced today that the international media has voted Slava as the WTA Comeback Player of the Year. The annual award is given to the player who the media believes has made the most impressive comeback from a ranking drop caused by injury or illness. Following knee surgery in January 2011, Slava dropped all the way to 259 in the singles ranking before storming back to a career high of 25 on October 29, 2012. Other nominees in the category were Venus Williams, Kirsten Flipkens, and Su-Wei Hsieh. Click here to read the full story on the WTA website.
There is no doubt that 2012 has been a spectacular year for Slava, and now she has capped it off by finishing the season with a career-high singles ranking of 25. “I was super happy to start my holidays with my career best ranking of 26 and now one week later I have made it to 25! I’m enjoying my holidays but I’m also excited to start working again to get ready for 2013 because I know there are more good things to come!”
Slava started 2012 ranked 206 in singles after a tough 2011 season that included a knee surgery and many other challenges, but supported by her new team, Slava worked hard to climb back up the rankings. The results of the dedication started to show in March, when Slava reached the finals of an ITF tournament in Irapuato and won the ITF tournament the next week in Poza Rica. Then came the headline-making run from qualifying to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, which would allow her to climb high enough in the rankings to qualify to compete in singles at the Olympics. More history came at Wimbledon with the Golden Set against top 10 player and Roland Garros finalist, Sara Errani, and a 3-set battle against Serena Williams in the 4th round. Slava’s steady improvement continued for the remainder of the year allowing her to finish the season with her best ever ranking.
After barely making the cut for qualifying and then losing 9-11 in her first match at the 2012 Australian Open, thanks to her hard work and great results throughout the year, Slava will return to the Australian Open in 2013 as a seeded player in the main draw! Big congratulations to Slava and all her team!
The final edition of Slava’s Shots for 2012 has been released on the WTA website. Check out the story and photos on the WTA website, or browse through all this year’s photos in the Gallery.
The latest edition of Slava’s photos from around the world has just been released on the WTA website. Click here to read the article and see the photos on the WTA website. You can also see all the photos in the Slava’s Shots gallery.