Julia Goerges turned 30 and lived a crucial season in 2018. A new maturity, the increased consistency game after game helped the German to win 46 matches, two titles and claim her maiden major semifinal at Wimbledon. The world No.14 fired a tour-leading 493 aces in 68 matches, almost 100 more than the second-ranked player, Karolina Pliskova, who hit 393 in 70 matches.
Goerges, one of the three players capable to hit 400 aces or more in a single season with Pliskova and Serena Williams, led the tour in first serve points won throughout the year (73,8%). She managed to complete eleven matches without losing her serve and collect five victories without conceding break points: to Viktoria Kuzmova in Auckland and Moscow, to Mihaela Buzarnescu in Doha, to Karolina Pliskova in Fed Cup and Belinda Bencic in Luxembourg.
Her serve, a journalist noted in a press conference during the Connecticut Open, looks original, almost unique when she flicks her wrist at the end. “I always had a pretty loose wrist to control some spin and variety on the balls,” she said.
“Obviously you need to train that a little bit. No, we did work a lot on the serve in the last three years. I think I improved a lot, also speed-wise, the variation I can put on the ball. It's very important to not only serving the same balls to the returner, I think it makes it a bit, yeah, difficult for the return player to really read my game, my serve.
Yeah, sometimes it's nice to get some free points, as well”. Goerges began the 2018 campaign with her fifth title of career at Auckland defeating Wozniacki and made her Top 10 debut on February 5, 2018, after one of her seven semifinals of the season at St Petersburg (l.
eventual champion Kvitova). She went 2-2 on grass before Wimbledon and posted her best Grand Slam result at the All England Club, where she reached the last 8 (l. S.Williams). With Kerber winning the title, it marked the first time that two Germans reached the last four at the same Slam since 1993 Roland Garros, when Graf lifted up the trophy and Huber lost in the semifinals.
In October, after a disappointing Us Open and a meagre Asian Swing, she returned to Europe in October to win sixth career title, at Luxembourg (d. Bencic in F), sealing the sixth career title in 14 tour-level finals.
Goerges, however, ranks second for service games won to Ashleigh Barty, the Zhuhai champion, who finished the season at 78,7% holds in 2018.
“There have been a lot of snapshots this year,” she said in a press-conference in Zhuhai, “especially breaking into top 10.
That's been a long time goal which I think wasn't very present in the last five years, or five years ago, better to say. Then obviously finally making it through in a Grand Slam. Getting to that stage where I've always dreamed of being on.
I think all those, yeah, memories from how I got to the semifinals, how I broke into the top 10, but also how I've won two titles again. I think I've won two last year, two this year. It's a very clear picture I can see.
I can see how I develop, how I improve every season. I think it doesn't matter where you finish the year. You have so many great memories of that year, that it's, yeah, it's really nice I have confirmed my last season.
I think this makes a top player, if you are consistent enough to show and prove every year that you belong there. It was not really easy to really prove that I belonged there. But I think overall I can be very, very proud of what my team and I did this season.
I think there is a lot more to come. I'm looking now for my vacations, but then towards working hard again and still see what I'm still capable of”.
“It's been a truly phenomenal year. My goal is to stay top 20 and try and consolidate as best I can. We've been able to do that and come away with a couple of titles, as well, and still being very successful in doubles.
It's been a really, really amazing year. Now we get to go home to celebrate that and then prepare for bigger and better things in 2019, starting with the Australian summer” Barty said celebrating the last title of the year.
The Australian, who tries to use variety and bring in different shots in her matches won ten matches in 2018 without losing her serve. In Zhuhai, she collected a significant win over Caroline Garcia, ine of the only two successes completed without conceding any break point chances.
That match became particularly relevant because Barty owns the most second serve points percentage on-tour (52,2%) above the same Garcia (51,3), ranked second having played as many matches as the Aussie No.1, 61. Barty's results this season were in fact significantly determined by her second-serve efficiency.
Whenever she has sealed more than 58% of points on her second delivery, she won the match. More predictably, she never lost this year having clinched more than 80% of first serve points, and she reached that threshold marking the highest level of serving performances thirteen times this year.