Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off in 2015, coasting to the Doha final by playing B-level tennis, which for him is enough to thump decent players and beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets (though Berdych squandered solid chances). In the championship match, he found another level and thumped Rafael Nadal, 6-1, 6-2, to take the lead in their head-to-head for the first time ever at 24-23.
Nadal’s level would have been enough to beat most players, but this was not only Djokovic, it was Peak Djokovic. Nadal generated a break-point opportunity in the first game, only for Djokovic to hold. That was essentially the end of the competitive part of the match, as Djokovic finished with 16 winners to just four errors in the opening set and played a nearly-perfect match to claim the trophy.
In Brisbane, Victoria Azarenka took advantage of her rivals dropping like flies. The top three seeds (Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova) in the stacked field all waived the white flag with injuries. With that said, Vika might have won the tournament anyway with the form she showed.
Losing a combined 17 games in five matches, she finally looked back to herself has to be considered a threat at the Australian Open. She beat Angie Kerber for the title, 6-3, 6-1, although Kerber deserves nearly as much attention for her efforts, as she clearly is playing more aggressive, putting herself in the conversation for Australia as well.
— Roger Federer crushed up-and-comer Dominic Thiem to advance to his third straight Brisbane final. It will be a rematch of last year’s championship match versus Milos Raonic, who played well in taking a couple tiebreakers off of a resurgent Bernard Tomic.
— Stan Wawrinka took care of business in Chennai, again reaching the final, where he awaits “Next Big Thing” Borna Coric, who might not have much left in the tank after outlasting Aljaz Bedene in a three-hour semifinal.
— Aga Radwanska took the No. 4 ranking from Sharapova by making the final in Shenzhen, assuring herself of her own quarter of the draw in Australia. She took out American Alison Riske to win the title.
— Sloane Stephens won the second title of her career in impressive fashion. Needing to win two matches in one day, she finished off Caroline Wozniacki in a rain-delayed semi and took out Julia Goerges hours later for the trophy.
— Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova defeated Ukranians Alex Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina to win the Hopman Cup.