On September 10, 2021, Luisa Stefani suffered, during the doubles semifinals of the US Open, one of the most serious injuries that a tennis player can have in the knee: a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament. Getting back on the court would require a long rehabilitation process and a lot of patience.
The 25-year-old from São Paulo only returned to compete on September 14, 2022. More than a year after the injury. Since her return, Luisa has played four tournaments with three different partners. She was champion in two of them (Chennai and Guadalajara), including lifting a WTA 1000 trophy again, which happened this Sunday night, in Mexico, alongside the Australian Storm Sanders and on top of the also Brazilian Bia Haddad Maia, who had with Kazakh partner Anna Danilina.
Two trophies in four tournaments played is an enviable mark for any tennis player. For someone coming back from injury, even more so. In the case of Luisa, there is an even more encouraging factor in the equation: the São Paulo native is still not that close to playing the level of tennis that she had been showing before her injury. Just yesterday, Luisa committed two double faults and an unforced error when she served for the title in the second set. Shortly after, she missed a not-so-hard smash. In the match tie-break, she was insecure and took little risk. Still, she was champion.
No, the intention here is not to criticize. On the contrary. Noticing that Luisa still has something to sharpen her game and realizing that, even before that, she is already conquering trophies, is to observe things with the glass half full. When she returns to work with a steady partner and recovers the pace of competition from before, the São Paulo is a strong name to fight for slam titles, a spot in the WTA Finals and, who knows, even for the position of number 1 in the world. Today, the sky is the limit for Luisa.
Things I think I think:
– With four tournaments played, Luisa is already number 55 in the world in doubles. Yes, I wrote four tournaments. FOUR.
– It was nice to see a final with two Brazilian women, although the level of the match was not the best most of the time (the match tie-break, yes, was excellent). Upon reaching that decision, Bia Haddad secured her spot in the Finals alongside Danilina. A partnership that happened by chance and was runner-up at the Australian Open had its ups and downs and, in the last hour, did enough to be among the best eight duos of 2022.
– In the singles, Bia didn’t have a great end of the year. After the US Open, he hasn’t beaten any top 50 players and has lost four of his last six games. She doesn’t seem worrisome given the level of opponents she faced (she lost to Kudermetova, Krejcikova, Muchova and Siniakova). And the spot in the Finals ends up coming as a prize for a great season.
– Today’s sound on my Kuba Disco: Glorious, my favorite by Macklemore. Because I can really imagine Luisa singing today “I’m back like I never left” and “I feel glorious”.
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