For any player, kicking off the season with a title instills a sense of confidence for the rest of the year going forward. The trick is being able to maintain that level of play on a week-by-week basis.
It’s a test Demi Schuurs has passed with flying colors in 2018.
The Dutch doubles specialist broke a two-year title drought last September, then only went a few months before winning again in the first week of the year with Kiki Bertens in Brisbane.
And to show that the days of extended title droughts were behind her, Schuurs followed up that win with a championship in Hobart, partnering Elise Mertens.
Two tournaments. Two different partners. Two titles. The preparation was perfect for the year’s first major, the Australian Open. However, Schuurs and Mertens fell in the first round in Melbourne.
When the tour turned to clay, the 25-year-old Schuurs picked up two more titles, including the most prestigious of her career in Rome, where she partnered two-time French Open doubles finalist Ashleigh Barty.
Once again, though, Grand Slam success would elude Schuurs as she and Mertens lost in the opening round to Barty and Casey Dellacqua at the French Open.
On grass, Schuurs and Mertens won in front of the Dutch crowd in Rosmalen and posted a runner-up finish in Birmingham, which halted Schuurs finals-won streak at six. After Wimbledon, the Barty-Schuurs team added another Premier 5 Mandatory title on the year by taking Montreal, then Schuurs and Mertens reached the final in Cincinnati.
Soon after, as befitting the year she’d been having, Schuurs finally reached the second week of a major as she and Mertens advanced to the quarterfinals at the US Open. The duo is recently coming off its fourth title of the year in Wuhan, which carried a special prize along with the first-place points and winnings.
Schuurs and Mertens will both be making their debut at the year-end event in Singapore.
It’s been a special season for the world No. 8-ranked Schuurs, one with only a few minor hiccups along the way. A strong showing at the WTA Finals would be the perfect capstone to 2018 and provide momentum going into the next year.
As Schuurs has shown, getting off to a great start definitely has its benefits.
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