SAP Insights: 2017’s historic Battle for No.1

The Chase for No.1 dominated the headlines in 2017, with three new World No.1s crowned in a season that saw five women hold the top spot. SAP Tennis Analytics looks into a history-making year atop the rankings.

The Battle for No.1 kicked off right out of the gates in January and came down to the wire in the final week of the season in Singapore. In a year that saw Angelique Kerber begin at No.1 and Serena Williams return to the WTA’s penthouse after winning her record-breaking 23rd major at the Australian, 2017 was also the first time three new No.1s were crowned in a single season. This is just the second time since the inception of computer rankings in 1975, that five different players held the top spot over the course of a year.

Karolina Pliskova became the first woman to represent the Czech Republic to become the 23rd WTA No.1 after Wimbledon. Garbiñe Muguruza became the 24th woman and second Spanish woman to hold No.1 after the US Open.

But it was Simona Halep who edged out the field in the end, becoming the 25th player and first Romanian to hold the WTA No.1 ranking after the China Open. She went on to hold her lead through Singapore to become the 13th player to finish the season at No.1. The last time a season saw even two new No.1s crowned was  2008, when Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic made their No.1 debuts.

The trend of new No.1s was not confined to the singles game. Five women held the No.1 doubles ranking as well in 2017, with three new No.1s crowned. Bethanie Mattek-Sands overtook the No.1 spot from Sania Mirza, after the two teamed up in the first week of the season and won Brisbane. Mattek-Sands’ good friend and partner Lucie Safarova moved to No.1 after Cincinnati, putting the Czech flag atop both the singles and doubles rankings for the first time.

And Martina Hingis finished off her incredible career with one of her best seasons, rising to No.1 with Chan Yung-jan to cap off a wild season of doubles. Chan became the second woman from Chinese Taipei to hold the No.1 doubles spot.

WEEKS AS WTA WORLD NO.1 IN 2017

18 weeks: Angelique Kerber (GER)
10 weeks: Serena Williams (USA)
12 weeks: Simona Halep (ROU)
8 weeks: Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
4 weeks: Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)

WTA YEAR-END NO.1s:

Chris Evert: 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981
Martina Navratilova: 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
Stefanie Graf: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995 (shared with Seles), 1996
Monica Seles: 1991, 1992, 1995 (shared with Graf)
Martina Hingis: 1997, 1999, 2000
Lindsay Davenport: 1998, 2001, 2004, 2005
Serena Williams: 2002, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015
Justine Henin: 2003, 2006, 2007
Jelena Jankovic: 2008
Caroline Wozniacki: 2010, 2011
Victoria Azarenka: 2012
Angelique Kerber: 2016
Simona Halep: 2017

[“Source-wtatennis”]

Andy Murray admits paying price of battle to reach world No1

Andy Murray practises in Monte Carlo yesterday in preparation for his return from an elbow injury.

Andy Murray practises in Monte Carlo yesterday in preparation for his return from an elbow injury. Photograph: fotopress/Getty Images

In the yin and yang of the sporting world, Andy Murray returns to action at the Monte Carlo Masters this week admitting that the effort of ending last year as world No1, for the first time in his career, may well have contributed to his stop-start beginning to the 2017 season. Having returned home after an early exit at the Australian Open to find he had shingles, he then picked up an elbow injury at Indian Wells, which caused him to miss the Miami Masters and Britain’s Davis Cup quarter‑final defeat in France.

From the start of the Rome Masters in May last year, Murray won 61 of his 65 matches, during which time he won Wimbledon for the second time, claimed a second Olympic singles gold and his last five events of the year to overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings. With the calendar so crowded, it was always possible that it would come back to bite him, one way or the other.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” said Murray, who lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, won the Dubai title but then went out in his first match at Indian Wells before getting injured. “I think the elbow injury was nothing to do with what happened. The shingles would have been more likely something to do with that but I feel fine now. I got ill in Miami and had some tests when I got back and everything was completely normal and I feel great.”

It was an injury that even on Sunday, as he chatted at the picturesque Monte Carlo Country Club, he struggled to explain fully, expressing doubt over the amateur diagnosis of a tear given in Miami last month by his brother Jamie. “I had it re-scanned when I got home about a week, 10 days after, when the inflammation had died down, and compared it with the scan I had on my elbow in 2014,” he said. “It looked fairly similar. So not sure if it was a tear there or not.”

The good news is the world No1 is here, sounding confident and insisting he would not be playing if he felt there was even the slightest chance of exacerbating the elbow problem, an injury which had affected him only when serving. “I wouldn’t play if I felt like I was risking it. In practice I’ve been serving a lot. I only really started serving properly, as hard as I would hope to in a match, two days ago [but] I will have had five days before my match of serving at the right speed. I think it will be fine.”

Murray reached the semi-finals here last year, the start of his most successful clay-court season – winning in Rome, finishing runner-up in Madrid and then again at Roland Garros. He leads Djokovic by 3,695 points at the top of the world rankings but with Roger Federer having won the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami, Murray knows he will need to start picking up points if he is to hold on to top spot later in the year. “Obviously I have some work to do to push myself back up in the [calendar-year] rankings again this year. That starts this week.”

Murray starts his campaign on Wednesday against either Gilles Müller, the world No28, or the Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Djokovic, back from an elbow injury of his own, and Rafael Nadal, are in the other half of the draw. Nadal will meet the winner of today’s all-British battle between Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans.

[“Source-theguardian.”]

Apple, Google Locked in Battle for Supremacy

Apple, Google Locked in Battle for Supremacy

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Alphabet surpassed Apple as the world’s largest company by market value.
  • Apple’s fate to trade consumers up will be decided by iPhone 7 launch.
  • Recently, Apple made a lot of announcements in China and India.

At the top of the corporate world, Apple and Google are in a back-and-forth battle to be number one.

It’s not clear which of the two Silicon Valley giants will emerge on top in a contest which highlights the contrast of very different business models.

For a brief time early this year, Google parent Alphabet overtook Apple as the world’s largest company by market value.

Apple then regained, lost and recovered the leader position in May in a battle that appears set to continue for some time.

At the close Friday, Apple was worth some $522 billion (roughly Rs. 35,13,852 crores), to $496 billion (roughly Rs. 33,38,832 crores) for Alphabet.

The two companies have both been hugely profitable in recent years, for different reasons.

Apple has delivered a line of must-have iPhones and other gadgets that have set trends around the world but now “appears to be a little bit immobile,” says Roger Kay, analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

Apple shares have slumped some 30 percent over the past 12 months over concerns that its stunning growth pace is slowing and that the iPhone won’t be able to rake in profits as it has up to now.Finding next thing
Kay said Apple may be losing the position of innovation leader it achieved after the iPhone, with no new major hit products coming.

“They haven’t really changed the nature of the game,” Kay said.

“The (Apple) Watch came in, it was kind of interesting, people liked it… but developers are still searching for exactly how to use it.”

Google, meanwhile, been evolving from a pure search engine to a leader in mobile with its Android operating system.

And it has at the same time been investing in “moonshots” – grand ventures that may have potential such as self-driving cars, fiber networks and Internet balloons.

Google “has positioned itself well, through organic investments and acquisitions, for most of the major trends in consumer Internet: mobile, video, local,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney in a research note.

Kay said the Android system which powers some 80 percent of mobile handsets is a valuable franchise that helps Google’s mobile advertising efforts.

“The narrative that has boosted Google is the one about technology innovation and being at the wellhead of various important technologies,” Kay said.

“That may or may not finally pay off. But they’re looking. They’re using their money to try to find innovative things to make the next big thing, whatever it is.”

For Apple, a key moment will come later this year with the expected unveiling of its iPhone 7, a test on whether it can keep up its innovation and entice consumers to trade up.

The two companies have a virtual duopoly on the smartphone market, but Apple makes its own hardware and software while Google provides only the free Android software for handsets, including many made by low-cost manufacturers.

Showing intelligence
Google has been taking pains to show off its software and artificial intelligence.

At its just-concluded developer conference, Google unveiled a virtual home assistant as well as an upgraded messaging platform.

Google claims it is ahead of its rivals in artificial intelligence, and cites as proof its victory in the ancient game of Go by its supercomputer AlphaGo.

And Google also has shown its interest in virtual reality, adapting its upcoming version of Android to deliver more lifelike images, which could help in its battle against Apple.

But few are ready to count out Apple, which is known for keeping its research efforts secret, and which has a massive cash stockpile of some $233 billion (roughly Rs. 15,68,658 crores).

Apple is widely believed to be working on some automobile project, and recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride hailing app Didi Chuxing, the bitter rival of US-based Uber.

Apple also moved to expand its global footprint by announcing plans for a development office in Hyderabad, India and a new app design center in Bengaluru.

Even with Apple’s share price in a slump, billionaire Warren Buffett disclosed he had taken a $1 billion stake, suggesting the shrewd investor sees Apple as undervalued.

The research firm Trefis said the latest Apple investment in Didi “signals that the company could get more creative” in using its vast financial resources.

Tags: AlphaGo, Alphabet, Android, Apple, Apps, Artificial Intelligence, Didi Chuxing, Google, Google Assistant, Google Home,Google IO, Google IO 2016, Google VR, Internet, Laptops, Lee Sedol, Mobiles, PC, Siri, Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, Uber, Virtual Reality,Wearables
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Alibaba Vows to Battle Counterfeits and Fakes

alibaba counterfeit

For years eBay has been taking heat from brands for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods via its marketplace.  High end brands such as Tiffany and L’Oreal — to name just two — claimed eBay hadn’t done enough to crack down on sales of counterfeit items. Legal tussles ensued.  Sometimes eBay won, and other times eBay came up on the losing end in such disputes.

In recent years, eBay has taken a number of steps to address the counterfeit issue, including close cooperation with law enforcement, brands and industry associations to police counterfeits.  For instance, it partnered with the fashion industry on the “You Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign.  And it has policies against counterfeiting and is said to take strong action against merchants when the brand owner reports counterfeits.

But counterfeiting isn’t a problem just on eBay. These days, you may be hearing about a different marketplace in connection with counterfeit goods.  With its 71% jump in quarterly sales, Alibaba, a China-based eCommerce site, has also seen a rise in the problem of counterfeit goods.

The Alibaba.com site is largely a wholesale marketplace.  Typical transactions may involve small businesses in the West buying wholesale from suppliers in China, through Alibaba.

The small businesses may then turn around and resell the items via Ebay and other retail eCommerce sites to consumers, for a profitable markup.

The trouble is that some items, particularly brand-name products like iPads or flash media cards, may not be all they are cracked up to be.  Items bearing the name of Apple or other trusted brands may be fake.  If you buy those counterfeit items wholesale, and then turn around to resell them, at the very least you could end up with customer complaints, chargebacks and lost money when you have to give refunds.  Even worse, your eBay or other eCommerce account could be shut down — and you could find yourself hip deep in legal hot water. (Read more about consequences of selling counterfeit goods.)

And then there’s the issue of the nearly 1 million Etsy artisans, who may find their handmade goods copied and sold in bulk on Alibaba.  In that case, the small business may be the direct victim of counterfeiting on Alibaba.

Alibaba Intensifies Anti-Counterfeit Campaign

Alibaba has vowed to crack down on fakes.  Alibaba’s management is partnering with government officials to tackle the counterfeiting issue, The Wall Street Journal reports.  It comes in advance of an anticipated IPO that Alibaba has been planning for either late 2013 or 2014. Running a marketplace credible with consumers is crucial.

Company officials are meeting with brands, industry groups and government officials in the U.S. to discuss ongoing problems including violation of intellectual property rights.  Alibaba also has created a section on its site with information about safe buying.  And Alibaba appears to be cooperating more with brand owners.

However, fighting counterfeit products is a never-ending effort. It’s a complex problem. And it cannot be stamped out in one step.

Counterfeiting is not just an issue for large brands, either.  Small businesses have to be proactive.

If you are an Etsy artisan or a brand owner, be sure to scan marketplaces regularly to spot fakes and infringement of your intellectual property.  Even if you sell a small number of items in your spare time, you are not immune to being the victim of counterfeiting.  Document it and report it to the marketplace. You may even be able to work with US Customs to seize counterfeit goods that violate your intellectual property rights.

When you are sourcing wholesale goods, go into it with eyes open to potential fakes.  The consequences of buying and then reselling counterfeit goods could be severe.

To see just how you could get “taken” as a buyer, view the video below showing a counterfeit iPad purchased through Alibaba.

 



Counterfeit Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]